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Colchester Citizens

Founded in March 2019, Colchester Citizens builds diverse alliances of communities across Colchester and Essex organising for power, social justice and the common good.

Our member organisations are churches, schools, youth organisations and other civil society groups.

We are non-partisan, but we promote greater democratic participation in public life. Our broad-based community organising method helps ordinary people to secure a seat at the table with those in power and negotiate for change on the issues which matter to us.

If you are interested in joining as a member organisation, please get in touch with our Community Organiser at Juliet Kilpin Juliet.Kilpin@citizensuk.org

Sign up for updates from this chapter here.

News

Listen better: Your filter bubble is limiting whose voices you hear

hands holding smart phones and using them

If you’re passionate about community organising, then during coronavirus you really need to be aware of your filter bubble.

Why? Because the bubble of online information you’re presented with is being filtered. And if you’re not aware of that then your listening won’t be what it needs to be.

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Southend Community Sponsorship Group joins Citizens

This group of volunteers is busy working to resettle a refugee family in their community via the Government’s ‘Community Sponsorship Scheme’.  At the moment, they are busy raising money and establishing a support system for a refugee family. We asked one of their volunteers – Pippa Ullmer – why they joined Citizens.  “Juliet Kilpin, who has been supporting us since we started the group, encouraged some of us to go to the Community Organising training courses that Citizens run” Pippa explained.  “On the courses we learnt about Citizens tools and techniques for community organising, like 1-2-1s, Listening Campaigns and Actions. Now we’re starting to put what we’ve learned into practice by working towards supporting a refugee family through Community Sponsorship.  We’re also really looking forward to working with other local organisations supporting Citizens.”  

 

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Community Organising via a Facebook Group

Andy Griffiths explains a bit about Community Organising via a local Facebook Group. " In Chelmsford, some of us have been practising our community organising skills in a local facebook group, launched in late March.  We asked people for stories and what they cared about, and we ended up with 4,500 members, loads of stories (some heartbreaking), lots of silly poems and memes and “where can I find formula” and coordination of volunteering, and 55(!) actionable issues. 

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Tech Champions Project Launched

Sue Wood, Steward of Colchester Methodist Circuit reflects:   In our group of Methodist churches in Colchester the Covid19 crisis soon showed us that, for some period ahead, we would be relying to a huge extent on technology for all communications and, following on from that, realising that some are not going to be able to take part in church and social life as fully as they usually do, due to limited use of technology.

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Democracy doesn't stop with Covid 19

A picture of the virtual Accountability Assembly in progress

Last night, members of Citizens Essex hosted an online Accountability Assembly with Essex Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner Roger Hirst as the elections have been delayed.  Essex PFCC also hosted the event on their Facebook page which, at the time or writing this post, has had some 800 views.  There were big wins for youth work campaigners as Essex Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner Roger Hirst agrees to all Citizens’ Essex asks.


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The University of Essex and Citizens UK bolsters ‘Democracy in Action’

Obviously this all happened before lock down ...

University of Essex: Konstantinos Roussos, Jimena Vazquez Garcia, Jason Glynos and Rebecca Warren 

Citizens UK (CUK): Juliet Kilpin

The University of Essex and CUK have been working together to learn from and better support the Colchester community!

An exciting pilot initiative collaboratively designed and delivered by CUK staff, alongside academics and PhD students at the Essex Business School and the Department of Government, has meant that over 25 undergraduate students have had the opportunity to participate in an innovative program that reinforces the value and power of ‘Democracy in Action’. 

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NOW CANCELLED - our 27th April Accountability Assembly

Accountability Assembly Cancelled

Given the latest Government advice, and the fact that the PFCC elections have been postponed until 2021, we have cancelled our Citizens Essex Accountability Assembly on 27 April 2020 at Anglia Ruskin University.

We are still delighted that the PFCC Commissioner Roger Hirst and the other candidates had agreed to attend the Assembly and look forward to arranging another opportunity to discuss with them the important findings of our Essex-wide listening campaign.

We are using Monday 23rd March to hold a planning and strategy online meeting from 19.00 – 20.30 where we will discuss how civil society can best support each other through this pandemic.

We've left the original invitation text in this post up so you can see what we were planning.

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Happy Birthday to us !

What are your memories of Colchester Citizens Founding Assembly?  Its one year since we had our Founding Assembly on Monday evening, 4th March, at St Botolph's Church in Colchester.  If you were there that night, then maybe you can still remember the brilliant and brave young people.  They got up on stage and told the 200 or so people attending their real life stories of getting help on mental health issues, homelessness and using buses.

The 200 or so attendees at our Founding Assembly

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