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10 Years of Winning Change

10 Years of Winning Change in Birmingham

On Monday 20th of November 2023 , over 200 community leaders marked an incredible milestone: ten years of broad based community organising in the heart of Birmingham. Hosted at the South & City College, the 10th Anniversary Assembly wasn't just a celebration; it was a powerful statement of our ongoing commitment to building power, developing leaders and winning change across the city.

Crowd at our assembly
Community Leaders from across the region gathered to reflect on their past, and prepare for future campaigns.

The evening started with a reflection on our successes. We shared stories of our early successes, such as:

  • The creation of bespoke mental health support for 16- and 17-year-olds.
  • Re-settling 550 Syrian Refugees in the city in response to the civil war.
  • Growing the Living Wage in the region to over 500 accredited organisations – which put £25 million in the pockets of workers across the region last year.

This wasn’t achieved through writing policies, or simply asking nicely – communities came together to build their collective power and secured a seat at the table with those with power in the region.

Crucially, our assembly was not simply about reflecting on what we have won – we also renewed our commitment to working together to create the change we want to see and started the process of preparing for the next West Midlands Mayoral Elections. The audience heard testimony about the challenges many people face in accessing employment, and about our ongoing work to address the need for Mental Health Counseling in Education.

The Mayor of the West Midlands, Andy Street confirmed that:

  • He will work with us to build a Community Jobs and Skills Compact, which brings together the private sector, civil society, and local authorities to build pathways to employment.
  • He has allocated funding for mental health counseling in colleges, as an initial pilot – based on our work within the WMCA Mental Health Commission.
  • He will be joining us on the 25th of April for our West Midlands Accountability Assembly – where we will put our asks to the major candidates for Mayor.

That we were able to achieve these things is a testimony to the hard work of our diverse alliance of leaders, who have been listening to the needs of their communities and building power together for a decade. We also renewed our commitment to developing more leaders across our institutions, and announced our ambition to build a new alliance in the West Midlands - which will further expand our ability to win change.

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Your Accountability Assembly was by far the largest and most diverse gathering I attended. Mayor Andy Street

There is still much to be done in order to move us closer to the world as it should be in Birmingham – and it is not something that we can do alone. If you are interested in being part of our alliance, please get in touch with our local Community Organisers, Saidul Haque Saeed (saidul.haque@citizensuk.org) and Tom Snape (tom.snape@citizensuk.org).

Leaders in existing member institutions can deepen their involvement at the following events:

  • Introduction to Community Organising Training – 11th and 12th of December 2023
  • Chapter Annual General Meeting – 22nd of February 2024
  • International Women’s Day Action – 8th March 2024
  • West Midlands Mayoral Accountability Assembly – 25th of April 2024, University of Birmingham Great Hall
Three community leaders sit at a panel whilst the fourth speaks on stage behind a microphone, at a Birmingham Citizens event.

Posted by Tom Snape on 22 Nov, 2023