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Leeds Citizens take action for Living Wage in social care

Leeds Citizens are holding a day of action to show love for care workers during COVID-19 crisis and call on the government to guarantee the real Living Wage.

At 3pm on Thursday 2nd July, 50 faith and community representatives from across Leeds will gather for a visual display to show support for social care workers at Sunnyview House in Beeston. Following social distancing, we will assemble around the building forming an ‘embrace’ representing our love for social care workers.

The Rt Revd Paul Slater, Bishop of Kirkstall (Area Bishop for the City of Leeds) and The Revd Lindsey Pearson, Vicar of Beeston, will perform a blessing for the care home. Faith and community representatives will present gifts for care workers from the communities of Leeds. A message from Hilary Benn, MP for Leeds Central and a poem by a recipient of social care will also be read.

Click here for details of how to join the action

Sign our petition here and ask your MP to support our campaign

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Why the Government needs to start listening when it comes to Free School Meals

Joanne is a Citizens leader in Tyne and Wear and part of the team campaigning to ensure no child to go hungry during the Covid-19 pandemic. Here she celebrates the announcement that Free School Meals will be covered for children during the summer holidays, but asks what we need to do next to keep these temporary measures permanent. 

I was amazed by the Government’s u-turn on Free School Meals over the summer holidays, following a letter and campaign by Manchester United footballer Marcus Rashford. Marcus’ letter was heartfelt and from his own experience. For those of us that have been campaigning for this for months, this letter was the much-appreciated and much-needed intervention that raised the profile of this cause, and got a government to take notice. Families will be able to feed their children – for this summer, at least.

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Information can save lives! Organising for advice and guidance in Spanish

Written by Claudia Lopez-Prieto EAL director in St Gabriels College and member of Empoderando Padres, KCL

Lambeth is one of the most diverse boroughs in London, and the Latin American community is the second-fastest-growing and one of the 10 largest communities in the city. Regardless the Latin American community is largely invisible... and so are our needs. 

In Lambeth official guidance and advice had been translated into Somali and Portuguese; however, no translation into Spanish had been made despite being amongst the top languages spoken in the borough. Latin American families were getting information from their home countries or through unofficial sources that were not accurate or applicable to Lambeth and the UK. We had to act.

Lambeth Talk - Lambeth Council's newsletter now in Spanish!

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Interview with Dr Simon Mason: Celebrating Pride Month

Veteran community organiser and Tyne & Wear Citizens leader Dr Simon Mason reflects this Pride month on being involved with the founding of the Living Wage, justice in mental health - and how to improve LGBT representation in Citizens UK local alliances.

How did you get involved with community organising?

I first became involved in community organising in 1996 when I worked as a vicar in Plaistow and North Canning Town, in east London. I was a leader in the early stages of the Living Wage Campaign started by leaders in TELCO. One strand of the campaign was to get banks to adopt the Living Wage. HSBC bank had recently moved its HQ to Canary Wharf and we decided to attend its AGM. We bought shares and a group of leaders attended their AGM in 2001. It was my job to stand up and, through a Point of Order, speak to the AGM about the Living Wage.

"I told the booted and suited audience about the security guards, cleaners and caterers at HSBC who were on poverty wages. People who were having to work two or three jobs each week to make ends meet for their families."

Radio 4 broadcast the TELCO action at the HSBC AGM. It was the first time the phrase, ‘Living Wage’ was heard in the UK. That TELCO action on HSBC bank got us our first meeting with Sir John Bond, the HSBC Chairman. Some thirteen years later HSBC became a Living Wage employer. The same year as the NHS Trust I now work for became a Living Wage employer.

Simon joins a Tyne and Wear Citizens 'Reclaim The Metro' action to support victims of Islamophobic hate

What are the benefits of being a leader within Citizens UK?

I have had the honour of founding two CUK Chapters. The first was TELCO in east London. The second is in my home town of Newcastle. Tyne and Wear Citizens was launched in the autumn of 2017. The iconic Tyne Theatre was filled to capacity as over 1000 delegates from twenty-eight institutions across the region assembled to launch the latest chapter in Citizens UK. This launch broadcast by the BBC came on the back of several years of hard work, with leaders meeting monthly to support a community organiser who worked with us to secure the funding for a full-time organiser and then launch the chapter.

In the room that evening were people from all walks of life - students, university lecturers, charity sector workers, and people of faith - Quaker, Christian and Muslim. Truly a broad-based alliance.

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Temporary support continues for homeless people with No Recourse to Public Funds. Now let's make it permanent

Breaking news: Homeless people who have No Recourse to Public Funds (NRPF) will continue living in temporary accommodation.

On 24th June, Dame Louise Casey clarified that the Government's announcement of £105 million in extra funding to support rough sleepers will also include people who have NRPF. 

Citizens UK leaders around the country have been campaigning to support homeless people in this crisis - and beyond - regardless of their immigration status. Nobody should be left behind. Not now, not ever. 

Hear from some of our leaders on the news below:

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We need to suspend - and then end - No Recourse to Public Funds

Today the Select Committee on Work and Pensions called for the No Recourse to Public Funds (NRPF) condition to be suspended during the Covid-19 pandemic. 

We wholeheartedly support this call.

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In conversation with Bishop Dr Eric Brown

Bishop Dr Eric Brown Community Organising Windrush

On Windrush Day we spoke to Bishop Dr Eric Brown about his thoughts on the scandal, and on a number of topics around community organising.

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Happy Father's Day from DadSpace

Ahead of Father’s Day, we spoke to Sebastian Crankshaw, who is one of the fathers who attends DadSpace in Southwark. DadSpace is run by Parents and Communities Together (PACT), and is a space for babies and toddlers to play and for local Dads to meet, share and receive information on issues such as bonding with your baby, safety, parenting and many more. Click here to find out more about DadSpace.

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Black Lives Matter and structural racism. From solidarity to action

The killing of George Floyd in the United States has laid bare the extent of police brutality and structural racism faced by black people and people of colour across the world.

We stand in solidarity with those protesting peacefully for Black Lives Matter. We are inspired by their courage, which has painfully reminded us of the depth of racial injustice, including here in the UK.

In England and Wales, BAME groups are four times as likely as white people to be stopped and searched by the police, and black people specifically are nine times as likely to be stopped and searched.[1] The 2011 census showed that black people account for 3% of the population in England and Wales, yet they account for 8% of deaths in police custody. People from BAME group are also over-represented in the prison system in England and Wales where they make up 26% of the prison population.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A vigil at our London Citizens assembly with Sadiq Khan in 2018, remembering the lives lost on London's streets 

and organising with young people towards better relationships with the police and to tackle school exclusions.

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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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