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Our history

Founded in 1989, we are a single organisation with seventeen Chapters across England and Wales. Our Chapters are led by local people acting together for the common good through the method of Community Organising.

The UK has a rich history of people organising for power and change such as the Levellers, the Abolitionists, the Chartists, early trade unionists like the match girls and dock strikers, and the Suffragettes. Our work at Citizens UK is influenced by a heritage which draws on the broad-based organising of our sister organisation, the Industrial Areas Foundation (IAF) and before that the US civil rights movement.

Over the last thirty years we have won £1.8bn in additional wages for low paid workers, ended child detention for immigration purposes, secured an amnesty of ‘legacy cases’ for 160,000 asylum applicants as well as winning many victories at the local and regional level. We build power with people so that together we can move from the world as it is toward the world as it should be.

Some of our campaigns have spun off into dedicated projects, to create long-term change. The largest and most successful of these teams is the Living Wage Foundation which now accredits a network of over 9,000 employers who pay 300,000 employees the real Living Wage. Others include Parents and Communities Together (PACT) and Sponsor Refugees. We are proud of other social innovations that have successfully spun out to become independent organisations such as Safe Passage, London Community Land Trust and Money Mentors.


Hover over a shape to reveal a key part of our history - including our Projects, Chapters and Campaigns. Click on a shape to make it 'stick', and access the links to read more!

Headshot of person smiling during Citizens UK Living Wage for Social Care Assembly

Start Organising

PROJECTS: The Living Wage Foundation, Sponsor Refugees and Parents and Communities Together (PACT) are three of Citizens UK's major and established projects working to make change. Read more and get involved with them here.

CHAPTERS: We have seventeen broad-based Chapter alliances with networks of member institutions and community leaders across the UK. Read more about our local Chapters here.

CAMPAIGNS: Leaders across the UK are campaigning on the issues that matter most to them, from safer streets to better access to mental health services, Climate Justice, refugee resettlement and so much more. Read more and get involved with a campaign here.