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East London

TELCO (The East London Citizens Organisation) is the founding Chapter of Citizens UK. We are a powerful alliance of over 80 civil society institutions comprised of trade unions, faith groups, charities, schools and universities, all working together to make East London a better place to live.

We organise communities to act together for social justice and the common good, developing the leadership capacity of our members so they can hold our cities' decision-makers to account on the issues that matter to them. TELCO has a proud 20-year history. We pioneered the Living Wage campaign; Community Land Trust Housing; Ethical Olympics; and Good Jobs for young people. In addition to these successful campaigns, we are currently working on new campaigns on hate crime; mental health; and energy poverty. If your institution is not yet in membership, we'd love to have a conversation with you. Involvement in a Citizens UK alliance is one of the best ways for you and your organisation to make a tangible difference in your borough and London wide, whilst developing the leadership skills and capacity of your membership.

To arrange a sit down with one of our organisers, contact: emmanuel.gotora@citizensuk.org

Sign up for updates from this chapter here.

News

Hackney Citizens: 2018 Impact

Read this blog on the justice that Hackney Citizens have won this year!

Candidates for Mayor of Hackney respond to our agenda's asks in April 2018, ahead of the local elections held in May.

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Tower Hamlets: 2018 Impact

New campaigns and new action teams! Find out about the great work led by Tower Hamlets Citizens this year.

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Barking and Dagenham Citizens: 2018 Milestones

Barking & Dagenham Citizens is finally on the TELCO map! Read this blog to find out how our newest Borough alliance has been building its power and made a great start developing new leaders and taking action.

Josiah, Vanessa & Siji on 2-day training

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Newham Citizens: 2018 Impact

Newham Citizens organised not just one successful pre-election Assembly but two! Find out about the justice they won as a result and the progress they've made on ongoing campaigns.

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Redbridge Citizens: 2018 Impact

In the last year Redbridge Citizens alliance has worked really to build power and momentum on a number of significant campaigns. We trained leaders on 121 conversations, we engaged with over 4 Cabinet Members, 10 local councillors, Head of Regeneration, Head of Education Services, Head of Procurement, CEO of the Council, Senior Council officers, and local MPs. Click here to find out more.

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Waltham Forest: 2018 Impact

It's been a busy year for Waltham Forest Citizens who rebuilt their alliance and set out a new, ambitious plan for change based on the tools of community organising. Read hear to find out more!

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Our new TELCO staff team

In the last year we bid farewell to Yasmin Aktar, Caitlin Harland and Andre Demushi. These colleagues left a lasting legacy of organising and social justice. Learn about their contribution to TELCO and meet our new Organisers!

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TELCO ANNUAL MEETING AND AWARDS 2018

TELCO’s Annual Meeting and Awards event was a powerful moment for reflection, celebration, and call to action on important social justice issues for communities in east London. Click to find out more.

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Community Land Trust and affordable homes win in Waltham Forest

On Sunday 21 October 2018, church and mosque leaders, school children and local campaigners walked between the Lea Bridge and The Score housing development sites, meeting Cllr Simon Miller at St Marys Church in Leyton. Cllr Miller committed to ensuring that 50% of the homes built on these 2 sites will be classified as affordable. In particular, Cllr Miller announced that a Community Land Trust proposal has been written into the developer brief for the Lea Bridge site. This would be the first CLT in Waltham Forest. [see below for additional information on CLTs]

These announcements follow a year of campaigning by Waltham Forest Citizens (WFC), an alliance of 10 education and faith organisations in Waltham Forest. Before the 2018 local election, WFC listened to 1200 local people and built a People’s Agenda that included asking for 50% of all homes built on public land to be classified as affordable, starting with the Lea Bridge Road, The Score and Whipps Cross Hospital sites. In addition, WFC called on the next administration to build 1200 new social rent homes and 600 CLT homes. At the pre-election Accountability Assembly in April 2018, Cllr Coghill agreed to these asks and has subsequently confirmed her commitment to them in 2 follow-up meetings we have had with her in May and September 2018.

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A London Living Wage can help end child poverty

Peter Hill, Bishop of Barking writes why the Living Wage is so important to East London boroughs like Newham and Barking (originally published in the Newham Recorder in September)

As the new term starts, too many children will go back to school hungry because their families’ incomes don’t cover the essentials needed to live in Newham. The absence of free school meals over the recent six-week summer break means extra costs families can ill afford.

Even for people in work, life can be tough because of the high cost of London living, with rent and travel cost taking up a huge proportion of monthly income. The latest figures from KPMG and Living Wage Foundation show that nearly 1 in 5 (19%) of all Londoners are earning below the London Living Wage – these figures don’t account for self-employed people who are often earning below the government minimum.

Ending in work poverty is a huge challenge but if we have the heart and the will to get together we can make a change. When people recognise need and get organised, we can transform our communities for the better.

Every day, Christians in parishes across East London are living out their faith in a wide range of ways: running community projects, teaching, working with young people, organising winter night shelters and caring for the vulnerable. We also work in alliance with other faith and non-faith community groups within community organising charity Citizens UK to look at ways to address failures in the system that harm the community. Efforts to tackle poverty are growing in scale and sophistication and now include debt advice centres, foodbanks and advice services.

One big contribution to diminishing poverty came about thanks to community leaders right here in East London: The London Living Wage, the amount calculated as the minimum needed to survive in the capital. Back in 2001, members from the East London branch of Citizens UK brought together churches, mosques, schools and other local institutions to talk about the issues affecting their communities. People were working two or three minimum wage jobs and still struggling to make ends meet. They had no time for family life. Back then the government’s minimum wage was just £3.70 an hour.

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