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Brandenburg Choral Festival Concert in support of Citizens UK

 Brandenburg Choral Festival of London presents Mozart's Requiem to support Citizens UK. 

This concert features the Brandenburg Festival Chorus and Brandenburg Sinfonia, in a programme of marvellous Mozart. In the second half, the festival’s Artistic Director, Robert Porter, leads both groups in the dramatic Requiem, while in the first the instrumentalists will take centre stage with the Adagio and Fugue in C minorDivertimento from The Marriage of Figaro, and the Serenade in D major, known as Serenata Notturna.

(All compositions by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart)

Adagio and Fugue in C minor, K. 546
Divertimento, K. 492,
 from The Marriage of Figaro
Serenade no. 6 in D major. K. 239,
 'Serenata Notturna'


Requiem in D minor, K. 626

Friday 10th November 2017 7.30pm


HolbornViaduct London EC1A 2DQ


Tickets £23(premium)£18(unreserved) children£5 for tickets visit www.ticketsource.co.uk/event/191675?ref=citizensuk For more information email emmanuel.gotora@citizensuk.org


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The Living Wage Campaign

 The campaign for a Living Wage is a movement of independent businesses, organisations and citizens who believe a fair day’s work deserves a fair day’s pay.  We have been campaigning since 2001 to ensure that everyone can earn a real Living Wage that meets the cost of living, not just the government minimum.


The movement began at a meeting in East London, when the grassroots organisation Citizens UK brought together churches, mosques, schools and other local institutions to talk about the issues affecting their communities.

One issue came up again and again – low pay.

At the time the government’s minimum wage was just £3.70 an hour.Some people were working two or three minimum wage jobs and still struggling to make ends meet. The gap between the legal minimum and the amount needed for families to live on was having a big impact on employees and their family life. And nowhere more so than in London, where housing and childcare costs are much higher than in other parts of the country.

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Living Wage decision imminent after call for London Stadium boss to leave an Olympic Living Wage Legacy


Cleaners from the London Stadium joined East London Citizens (TELCO) to call on the Stadium's boss to pay a London Living Wage to all workers at the home of West Ham United.

Cleaners thanked Mark Robinson, Head of External Affairs at LLDC, for paying a Living Wage throughout the London 2017 Athletics Championships but called for this to be extended all year round to all staff - including at West Ham United home matches.

Mr Robinson confirmed on behalf of E20 Stadium LLP that a feasibility study into the Living Wage was due to be completed next week and a final decision on whether or not to implement the Living Wage will be taken by E20 Stadium’s Board at its next meeting later this month.

The real Living Wage is independently calculated by the Living Wage Foundation as £9.75 in London and is voluntarily paid by over 3,400 businesses and organisations who go further than the government’s legal minimum wage of £7.50 for over 25s.

Cleaners shared stories of the challenges of living on £7.50 an hour in London and the impact this was having on their families whilst cleaning in a Stadium, which played host to multi-million pound earning footballers and Olympic heroes like Mo Farah.

One cleaner, who asked to remain anonymous, said: “This month I have been able to buy better quality food from the supermarket, purchased some much needed new shoes and clothes and visited my local cinema for the first time in a long time. They are small pleasures but it would not have been possible without the London Living Wage this month.

“The rest of the year is hard work and its difficult to survive on £7.50 in this city. We think its only fair that we are paid the London Living Wage all year round and we want E20 Stadium to accredit as a Living Wage employer”


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Welcoming newcomers - Canada's Pride in Community Sponsorship of Refugees

Welcoming Newcomers – Canadians’ Pride!-   By Bekele Woyecha

Canada has been at the forefront of refugee welcome in the past many decades. Its private sponsorship of newcomers has been hailed by many. This success story has attracted the attention of many in the past few years. That was partly the reason why The Citizens UK delegation composed of Nick Coke, Tim Finch and Bekele Woyecha visited Ottawa and Toronto from 24th to 30th July 2017 to learn about the refugee sponsorship program Canada is known for. The delegation was also there to build relationships with Canadian refugee sponsors, sponsorship agreement holders, trainers, advocacy groups and fellow newcomers. The visit was an opportunity to see Canada’s decades of experience of welcoming newcomers through sponsorship and pave ways for further collaboration with those who have made this possible.

The visit started at the Immigration Refugee and Citizenship Canada office in central Ottawa. Having had a constructive discussion at the IRCC, as it is referred in Canada, the delegation’s next task in the agenda was to visit the Lebanese and Arab Social Services Agency. This was followed by a short break and an engaging event at The Ottawa Muslim Association. Good fellowship, mouth-watering food and strong relationship struck by the end of the first day.

Next in the agenda was to visit the Anglican Diocese of Ottawa and a private sponsor and learn from their decades of experience. The pride in the faces of those present was extremely encouraging and the stories they shared with us will last long in our memories.  This was followed by a visit to Salvation Army team at Ottawa Citadel - a Salvation Army church and community centre. This visit gave us the opportunity to hear directly from those who are engaged in sponsorship and helping those seeking sanctuary locally. Two days gone. Lots learnt and lots of relationships struck.


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Correction of False Fostering Message

We have been made aware that a message is circulating about Citizens UK facilitating fostering of refugee children. To clarify, Citizens UK does not facilitate fostering and adoption of children.

The message that some people have received telling them that we do, and that we only want Muslim families to participate in fostering refugee children is not from anyone who works for us. The message is false and inaccurate. If people are interested in fostering children they should contact their local council or organisations such as Coram.   

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Do you want to learn more about being a Community Organiser ?


“Nice people made the best Nazis. My mom grew up next to them. They got along, refused to make waves, looked the other way when things got ugly and focused on happier things than “politics.” They were lovely people who turned their heads as their neighbours were dragged away. You know who weren’t nice people? Resisters."

 The author Naomi Shulman.



Peace and harmony and working for the common good: CUK organiser Daniel Mackintosh gives us a brief insight into to what community organising can mean.

I work for community charity Citizens UK as the Waltham Forest and Redbridge Organiser. We are an alliance of 10 faith and education organisations, including Faizan-I-Islam, in Waltham Forest. Citizens has 400 member organisations in 11 cities UK-wide. Our mission is to revive the tradition of organising in the UK embodied by the slavery abolitionists, the suffragettes and the unionists, by strengthening our institutions to participate effectively in public life.

We live in challenging times. We have seen the normalisation of nasty politics, which has created the political environment in which terror attacks, like that on the Muslim Welfare House in Finsbury Park, could occur. Market culture dominance has led us to accept third rate treatment for poor people, as seen by the Grenfell fire. And our democracy is threatened by our withdrawal from participating in building the politics of a common life.

Academic Luke Bretherton says that the politics of a common life occurs when no single tradition of belief and practice sets the norms and conditions of shared speech and action, because different groups are all constantly negotiating what the ‘good life’ looks like.

 Why am I invested in this form of politics? I am a Jewish lad from South Africa. My grandmother was a Latvian refugee who fled to South Africa as a seven-year-old child in the 1930s because of antisemitism. Her grandmother, Chaisha, was then killed by the Nazis.

My community learns two diametrically opposed lessons from the Holocaust. One group of Jews says we can never trust anyone who is not Jewish because everyone is antisemitic. Therefore, we can only rely on one another.

The other group says, no, the Holocaust is what happens when democracy breaks down. This group, into which I fall, believes that we are all safer in a society that protects minorities, be they Jews, Muslims, Sikhs or gay people. Jews are safest in societies where all people are respected, because, when one minority is attacked, so too will Jews be.

So, how to effectively build the politics of a common life?

We need at least 3 things.


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Citizens UK and Teacher's Union NASUWT Launch Refugee Welcome School Pilot


Citizens UK, the national community organising charity, and NASUWT, the Teachers’ Union, have joined forces to promote Refugee Welcome Schools, an accreditation scheme to recognise schools that have made a commitment to welcome refugees in their institution and community, educate all their pupils and staff about the importance of refugee protection over the course of a year, and participate in campaigns to improve the lives of refugees in the UK. 

The first three schools have now accredited, and over the next six months more schools in London, Birmingham and Wales, where the scheme is being piloted, will complete the accreditation process.

Jonathan Cox, Deputy Director, Citizens UK, said: “Citizens UK has been calling for the UK government to play its part in resettling refugees from Syria, and welcome the most vulnerable since 2014. Our member institutions, including schools, have told us that they want to help; this scheme is a practical way to help support school communities as they prepare to welcome refugees.

“The UK’s response to the Syrian refugee crisis means that at least 20,000 refugees from that conflict will arrive here between now and 2020. Many will be resettled in communities that have never hosted refugees before. Every single resettled refugee will have a connection to a school, as only families are eligible for the Vulnerable Persons Relocation Programme. This means that schools become crucial places of welcome, orientation and integration for refugee families.” 

Schools taking part in the scheme will each develop a Refugee Welcome Plan: to make sure those seeking sanctuary in their school and wider community experience a warm and generous welcome; a Refugee Awareness Plan: to educate their pupils, staff and community on the issue of refugees and the importance of providing a welcome; and a Refugee Action Plan: to participate in community campaigns that improve the lives of refugees in the UK. 

The first three institutions to accredit are, Saint Gabriel’s College, Camberwell, South London; Leyton Sixth Form College, Waltham Forest, East London and Newman Catholic College, Brent, North London.  They were supported to complete their applications by undergraduate students from UCL Institute of Education, who undertook placements in the schools to review existing refugee provision and develop new ideas and resources.

 Stuart Tannock, Programme Leader, BA Education Studies, UCL Institute of Education said:

“Many of our students are passionate about social justice organising and education. Participating in the Refugee Welcome Schools project is an opportunity for our students to experience what social justice campaigns in the education sector can accomplish, learn first-hand about some of the excellent work that is already being done by local schools in supporting refugee children and their families, and also contribute their own ideas and energies in assisting schools develop new refugee education and organising projects in the coming year.”

Citizens UK developed the Refugee Welcome School concept with one of its member schools, Saint Gabriel’s College, a Church of England secondary school in South London in 2016, and have joined forces with the teachers’ union, the NASUWT to ensure the scheme can be rolled out effectively across the pilot areas, in advance of a national launch.


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First home-owners move into Community Land Trust half-price homes in Mile End.


Bethan and her two children have just moved into their new three bedroom Community Land Trust  home: "I thought that the only choice I had was to live in a flat that was too small for us or to give up and move out of London."


London's first Community Land Trust home-owners have started moving into their half-price homes on the St Clement's site in Mile End, East London.

The homes are being sold to local people by community organisation London Community Land Trust (London CLT) at prices less than half the market rate.

The prices of the homes are linked to local incomes in Tower Hamlets, meaning a one bedroom home can be bought for £130,000, two bedroom homes for £182,000 and three bedroom homes for £235,000. The private flats at St Clement’s available from Linden Homes start at £450,000 for a 1 bedroom apartment[1].

The campaign to create London’s first community land trust at St Clement’s was born out of the local community organising efforts of charity Citizens UK, who set up London CLT in 2007.

Since then it has garnered support from the respective Mayor’s of London Ken Livingstone, Boris Johnson, and more recently Sadiq Khan. The Mayor of Tower Hamlets, John Biggs and Tower Hamlets Council, have also supported the project.

The homes are brand new, built to a high specification. The CLT homes are exactly the same size and meet the vigorous standards of all new build developments. The design was created through a community-led planning process, which contributed to it passing planning with unanimous consent of the planning committee, a rare occurrence in London.

The only ‘catch’ for CLT homeowners is that if they choose to move on, the same formula linked to incomes will be applied – meaning each year, prices will rise with average incomes across the borough, rather than with the open market. This ensures the homes are permanently affordable for generations to come. It also encourages people to think of their investment as purchasing a home, not just an asset.


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Unlocking British Muslim Potential Is Long Overdue !



Qari Asim, MBE, Chief Imam at the Makkah Mosque in Leeds, West Yorkshire, gives his thoughts on the CUK commissioned report, The Missing Muslims, published this week.

"The “Missing Muslims” report (pdf here) commissioned by Citizens UK, was released this week. The report follows an 18-month Commission that listened to a wide range of voices including institutions, local authorities and members of the public.  The report is a valuable addition to the literature about Muslims - recognising the huge contribution of Muslims, evaluating the challenges and avoiding the trap of conflating religion and ethnicity.

The report contains 18 recommendations divided into three categories: recommendations for government and local authorities, for civil society and the business sector and for British Muslim communities. The recommendations are practical and inexpensive to implement. 

This report is not seeking ‘special treatment’ for British Muslims, rather it is an ambitious and timely attempt to find ways of encouraging full and active participation in public life for all communities. The report argues that rather than marginalising the Muslim communities, the society needs to recognise that unlocking a fuller Muslim presence in and contribution to British public life could help to reduce perceptions of increasing polarisation within British society.


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Civil Society urged to act and unlock the potential of British Muslims for the benefit of all


Today, Monday 3rd July, Citizens UK is pleased to receive the report, The Missing Muslims – Unlocking British Muslim Potential for the Benefit of All, and its recommendations, from an independent group of Commissioners, chaired by the Rt Hon Dominic Grieve MP, QC.

The Commission was set up to examine the ways in which the participation of Muslims in the public and community life of our country, outside of their own faith groups, might be improved.

Over the last 18-months the Commissioners, comprising high profile names from the world of business, academia, politics and faith travelled to hearings across the UK to listen to more than 500 hours of testimonies and evidence detailing the experiences of Muslim and non-Muslim individuals.

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