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Kelly Avenue Park: A Revival

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As a community, Peckham is bound together by a strong multi-cultural and diverse population and its dedication to the way its citizens live together as a community. This was evident in an unprecedented and fun event that happened on the 9th of July; a free-for-all luncheon including various child oriented activities at the Central Venture Playground (known locally as Kelly Avenue Park). The event was organised by the recently founded Peckham Citizens, an alliance of local churches, schools and charities that have worked together as part of a yearlong campaign to make the park clean and safe.

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Us Together: Commission on Islam, Participation and Public Life.

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Last July, as a young adult member of The Salvation Army Corps in Stepney, I was invited to take part in a BBC Radio 4 recorded discussion, marking the launch into the Citizens UK Commission into Islam, Participation and Public Life.  Gathered together in a room in the East London Mosque were a group of young people from different backgrounds, responding to comments made by David Cameron in his speech about extremism, and discussing the young British Muslim identity.  I heard a cry of pain graciously articulated amongst those present that I had not fully recognised before. My eyes were opened for the first time to how multi-faceted the issues facing British Muslims are. We could never have imagined the situation that we see now, a year later.

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Child refugees: Vanessa Redgrave delivers urgent letter to Downing Street on lone child refugees in Calais

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Vanessa Redgrave, Lord Alf Dubs and Aislin McGuckin today delivered a letter to Downing Street calling for an immediate amnesty for the unaccompanied minors in Calais identified by Citizens UK as having family in the UK. This action follows Wednesday’s Home Affairs Committee report, Migration Crisis, which called for the 157 unaccompanied minors in Calais identified by Citizens UK to be brought to the UK in a one-off amnesty.

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New figures on child refugees in Calais

Citizens UK revealed today that they have identified 170 unaccompanied children in Calais who have a legal right to be with their families in the UK while their asylum claims are processed. This coincides with today’s launch of the Home Affairs Committee report, Migration Crisis, which finds that family reunification for unaccompanied minors in Calais is taking too long, and says those children "should already have arrived" in the UK. It goes on to recommend that the Government should, as a one-off, accept all of these children into the UK now.

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Court of Appeal upholds Home Office appeal on Syrian refugee case

In January, following a legal case supported by Citizens UK, three Syrian children and a young adult with mental health problems were granted permission by the UK Courts to travel from the ‘Calais Jungle’ to the UK legally, to be with their UK-based families while their asylum claims were processed. This is the first time this had ever happened.

The judge ruled that their right to family life should be upheld, and the UK’s lack of a formal Dublin 3 procedure (under which no children in Calais had been reunited with their families) should not prevent the claimants from accessing that right.

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London For All: No Place For Hate Rally against Hate Crime

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London Citizens, the community organising alliance, held a unity rally in London on the afternoon of Sunday 31st July in an act of solidarity with communities impacted by a reported rise in hate crime.

For some Londoners racist and xenophobic abuse is not a new phenomenon, but the surge in reported incidents after the EU referendum (which showed more than 6,000 alleged hate crimes reported to police in England, Wales and Northern Ireland in the four weeks since 16 June) has left many communities and individuals worried.

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London For All - Rally against Hate Crime

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London Citizens is holding a "No Place For Hate Rally" on Sunday 31st July. Teams shall gather at St George's Cathedral SE1 7HY and Tower Hill Gardens EC3N 4DR before moving towards Tower Bridge and finishing at City Hall. 

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Welcome Summit

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The Welcome Summit on Saturday 10th September is a gathering for the groups behind the Refugees Welcome movement from right across the country.

It's a moment, one year on from the tragic death of Aylan Kurdi, to come together and celebrate what we've achieved, take stock of the British response to date, and to plan, train and act together to build a more welcoming Britain. We will also use the time to build accountable relationships with key actors, from government ministers to UN agencies, around key issues including the protection of refugee children, development of community sponsorship, and building of strong communities.

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Full Community Sponsorship of refugees launched in the UK: first refugees expected to arrive within weeks

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Following extensive consultation with the National Refugee Welcome Board and Citizens UK, the Home Office has today (19 July) launched Full Community Sponsorship for refugees. With the launch of the brand new scheme (modelled on a similar, hugely successful, programme in Canada) community groups will be given the opportunity to personally welcome and support refugees arriving in the UK. 

Full Community Sponsorship gives community groups, including churches, synagogues and mosques, an opportunity to get involved in helping refugees through taking the lead responsibility for their resettlement and integration in a community.  The sponsoring groups raise money to help support refugees and are obliged to demonstrate to the Home Office that they are capable of providing the welcome and practical help needed. Citizens UK has launched Sponsor Refugees, a foundation established to promote and support community sponsorship. 

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Greenwich Citizens win NHS Mental Health training for school pupils

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Youngsters at two Greenwich schools will be trained as Resilience Peer Mentors, able to offer initial support and signposting to classmates going through mental health issues.

The campaign was put together by young people from Greenwich Citizens, part of Community Organising alliance Citizens UK, after talks with Dr Lesley French, Clinical Director, at Oxleas NHS Foundation Trust.

The partnership was announced at an event held at St Paul's Academy on Wednesday (13 July).

Oxleas will train 10 school pupils in Corelli College Co-Operative Academy, Blackheath and St. Paul's Academy, Abbey Wood as Resilience Peer Mentors.

Other schools, colleges and youth groups from Citizens UK are now looking to build on the work of these students. This includes Greenwich Free School - who presented results from a co-designed a research project with Oxleas, looking at Mental Health issues in Greenwich schools. 

Pupils who campaigned for mental health training at their school will soon begin a one-year pilot

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