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Redbridge and Waltham Forest Citizens to Get Together with Iain Duncan Smith MP

 

REDBRIDGE AND WALTHAM FOREST CITIZENS TO BUILD A WORKING RELATIONSHIP WITH IAIN DUNCAN SMITH MP

Redbridge and Waltham Forest Citizens, part of national community organising charity, Citizens UK, today welcomes Iain Duncan Smith, returning as the MP for Chingford and Woodford Green and looks forward to working with him in the future.

Fr Andy Trenier, a leader of Waltham Forest Citizens from Chingford Parish Church, said: “We are also very pleased that Iain hopes to join us for a meal to celebrate the Great Get Together on 23 June in memory of Jo Cox, the MP murdered last year. This is a fitting way to mark the start of our work together; local people from a whole host of diverse institutions coming together with their MP to tackle issues around the common good. We have more to unite us than to divide us.”

Before the elections, representatives Waltham Forest and Redbridge Citizens met parliamentary candidates in Woodford to tell them their concerns and to invite them to join in the Great Get Together, should they win the parliamentary seat.  Each candidate was also asked to meet Waltham Forest and Redbridge Citizens at an early stage if elected.

The aim was to build and develop relationships between civil society members and whoever was elected as the local MP.

Moya Moffat, a leader of Redbridge Citizens from Saint Thomas of Canterbury Catholic Church, said: “We wanted to meet the candidates to let them know which issues were important to us. We thought it would be great if the elected MP joined us for the Great Get Together Meal so they could meet their electorate and help build a strong relationship with civil society. Iain Duncan Smith spoke of his hope for greater prosperity within the constituency, of improvement to air quality and protection of open spaces, and of local housing challenges. We look forward to working with him on these and other local issues.”

 

 

 

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Launch of the Citizens Commission on Islam, Participation & Public Life Report

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The Citizens Commission on Islam, Participation and Public Life is delighted to announce the launch of its report on Monday 3rd July. Entitled "The Missing Muslims" the report seeks to explore how civil society can help unlock British Muslim potential for the benefit of all. 

Chaired by Rt Hon Dominic Grieve QC MP, the Commission brought together several Commissioners (drawn from a wide cross section of British society) to consider how the Muslim community could better engage and participate in public life. It sought to identify examples of best practice, alongside better understanding what the key challenges may be for Muslim communities in Britain.

 

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COMMUNITY ORGANISING CO-ORDINATES CIVIL SOCIETY RESPONSE TO THE GENERAL ELECTION 2017

  Diverse civil society alliances aim to build relationships with PPCs in 100 constituencies

-   If elected PPCs are invited to eat with us at a Great Get Together meal in memory of Jo Cox

Citizens UK, the national home of community organising, which brings together over 350 diverse civil society institutions including churches, mosques, synagogues, schools, universities and community groups, has launched its response to the snap general election.

Citizens UK is calling on political candidates to engage with civil society in their constituencies and pledge to build a relationship to work together for the common good with an aim to make Britain a more just, inclusive and welcoming country by 2022.

Local leaders from the community organising movement will be meeting with prospective parliamentary candidates in at least 100 constituencies across England and Wales. Citizens UK leaders will be organising private meetings with PPC’s, hosting round-tables and Citizens Assemblies as part of their strategy to develop lasting and useful working relationships with politicians.

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Response to terror attack at Manchester Arena

Vigils in Manchester, Leeds and Bradford tonight at 6pm.

Greater Manchester Citizens, part of community organising charity Citizens UK, are saddened and horrified by the terror attack in our city, at the Manchester Arena yesterday.  Our thoughts are with the victims and their families, and our emergency services who are at the forefront of dealing with this tragic incident.

Khalid Anis, Islamic Society of Britain in Manchester, and member of Manchester Citizens, said:

“Today, we wake up to the sad news of a terror attack at the heart of our city that has killed many innocent individuals, tragically some are our very young who were at the concert with friends and families. Manchester communities are strong and resilient and will no doubt deal with this latest tragedy in the usual Mancunian way; working together and not allowing anyone to hijack this tragic event for their own agenda. We ask all communities to be extra vigilant over the coming weeks and support our police service with any information that they may have to prevent any further incidents.” 

Sir Peter Fahy, Chair of the Greater Manchester Citizens Sponsor Committee said:

 “We are shocked at the tragic news of this terror attack at the heart of Manchester City Centre, the tragic loss of life and the sheer scale is difficult to comprehend. We ask for all to stay calm and support our emergency services in whatever way they can to help them in this hour. Communities will be coming together across Manchester to say clearly we will not let hatred divide us."

Greater Manchester Citizens is helping to co-ordinate communities to come together for a vigil at 6pm taking place at Albert Square outside Manchester Town Hall along with the Mayor of Greater Manchester and Greater Manchester Police. 

Vigils will also take place in Leeds and Bradford. At Leeds Minister tonight (Tuesday) the vigil begins at 6pm. It will be led by the Bishop of Leeds, the Rt Revd Nick Baines, and the Rector of Leeds, Canon Sam Corley.

At the same time, 6pm, at Bradford Cathedral the Bishop of Bradford, Rt Revd Toby Howarth will lead a Prayer Vigil with other civic and religious leaders.  All other churches in the diocese are being asked, wherever possible, to be open for prayer. 

 

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International community change-maker to lecture in Birmingham

 

INTERNATIONALLY RENOWNED COMMUNITY CHANGE MAKER TO DELIVER LECTURE ON THE ROLE OF CIVIL SOCIETY IN CREATING A STRONG DEMOCRACY

Internationally renowned speaker, community change maker and Co-Director of the Industrial Areas Foundation, Ernesto Cortes Jnr. will be delivering a lecture, Democracy and Inequality: Why a Strong Civil Society is Needed for a Strong Democracy, at the University of Birmingham Business School on Friday 26 May 2017.

Pro-Vice-Chancellor and Head of the College of Social Sciences, University of Birmingham, Professor Saul Becker and national community organising charity, Citizens UK, are welcoming Mr Cortes to the UK and Birmingham to learn from his more than 50 years’ experience of building civic power across the USA. The lecture is part of a series of events and partnerships that the University, championed by Professor Becker, is undertaking as part of its commitment to civic engagement.

During his presentation, Mr Cortes will argue why a strong and active civil society is so important to the way democracy is both learned and practiced. His experience has taught him how important it is for the key institutions of civil society like faith and education to challenge the growth in inequality for many reasons, but particularly for its corrosive effect on the human condition and the quality of family and community life. 

As the UK prepares for a General Election on June 8th, it is anticipated that Mr Cortes' words and experience will prove highly relevant at such an important time, and a reminder of the central role Civil Society must play in a healthy democracy - and not just at Election time.

Neil Jameson, Director, Citizens UK said: “Ernesto Cortes has been instrumental in building more than 30 broad-based organisations whose hallmark is the development and training of ordinary people to do extraordinary things. Over the years, these organisations have leveraged billions of dollars for poorer communities across the South West of America.

 “His work has brought together pastors, teachers, nurses, schools and families to build some of the best known and longest standing Community Organisations in America.  They have fought for and won billions of dollars of investment into their communities and trained thousands of community leaders to take power by using the tools of democracy and relationship building.

 “Citizens UK has a 30-year working relationship with the Industrial Areas Foundation, with Mr Cortes being instrumental in helping Citizens UK revive the tradition of community organising; he remains a great inspiration and teacher for a new generation.

 “I look forward to the learning opportunity his presentation offers, and the chance to debate and discuss his ideas and methods with community leaders, academics and representatives of the business community who we hope will join us.”

The event will bring together a diverse audience of key stakeholders from a variety of sectors across the city as well as leading Academics and a panel of thought leaders and experienced practitioners.

 

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Hundreds of unaccompanied refugee children could have been unlawfully denied family reunion

This week the Administrative Court will consider whether the government failed to take adequate steps to protect children’s rights prior to the demolition of the Calais camp in France, and its continuing failure to deliver and operate an effective system for the transfer of unaccompanied child refugees with family in the UK. Last week, in cases brought in the Upper Tribunal by lawyers working with Citizens UK’s Safe Passage project, it was determined that five children who were in the Calais camp were unlawfully denied their rights to reunite with their families in the UK.

Lawyers working with Safe Passage have said that this week’s Judicial Review could affect the cases of hundreds of unaccompanied children in France. Citizens UK is challenging the government’s failure to set up an operational Dublin III system for unaccompanied asylum-seeking children in France. This failure has meant that independent lawyers and charities such as Citizens UK’s Safe Passage programme have been forced to do the government’s job by carrying out the necessary legal and logistical work. “There is no functioning state system and what system there is, is currently almost entirely dependent on private actors,” the claim states.



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Greater Manchester Citizens Statement

Citizens UK and Greater Manchester Citizens offer our thoughts and prayers to the victims, families and friends of the terrible attack last night. We will not let hatred divide us; we will stand together regardless of our faith or political allegiance and work for the common good. 

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Harrow Citizens sign up at pre-founding partners' assembly

Young Irish Dancers entertained at the launch of Harrow Citizens.

 

The foundations of a broad community-based movement dedicated to improving the lives of people in Harrow through local campaigns and targeted action will be laid today at an inaugural meeting at St Jerome’s Church of England Bilingual Primary School.

Leaders from faith groups, and schools, will combine to form a new alliance under the banner, Harrow Citizens, part of national community organising charity, Citizens UK. The aim is to stimulate a grassroots movement in Harrow that will become powerful enough to represent the interests of ordinary people.

 Scores of supporters have signed up to a pre - founding partners’ assembly, laying aside their differences in the interests of the common good.

The emerging organisation will become an affiliate of Citizens UK, a powerful and growing network of over 350 faith groups, schools and colleges.  It is committed to developing the skills of communities so people are better able to identify their own needs, improve their neighbourhoods and participate more fully in society. It already has the ear of leading politicians.

 

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Training in community organising in South Africa: a first for Citizens UK

 

CUK and TELCO lead organiser, Emmanuel Gotora, tells us about Citizens first training trip to South Africa. 

In March 2017, I was privileged to lead Citizens UK's first community organising training in Africa. Together with our Tower Hamlets Organiser, Yasmin Aktar, I joined the team from the Commonwealth Foundation, who funded the training, at the O.R. Thambo Conference Centre in Boksburg, Johannesburg. We were here for a 4-day training and learning exchange with 30 representatives from eight out of the nine countries under the banner of the Southern African Alliance for Youth Employment (SAAYE).

Funded by the Commonwealth Foundation and hosted by the Economic Justice Network in South Africa, the training explored community organising as a vehicle for constructive engagement with national governments, with a view to taking action on the issue of youth employment in nine countries across the SADC region - Botswana; Lesotho; Malawi; Mozambique; Namibia; South Africa; Swaziland; Zambia; and Zimbabwe.

Over four jam-packed days, 31 participants from national church councils, youth organisations, and trade and student unions, engaged with the training curriculum. They interrogated the universals of broad-based community organising such as relational power, leadership, negotiation and self-interest. These are usually taught over six days, but the participants' understanding of the material was both insightful and instinctive.

I am encouraged that there is a group of talented people hungry for change, and willing to explore broad-based organising as the vehicle.

SAAYE! Salute! 

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Interview with Liam Harrison - Market Director, Atkins

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Liam Harrison is a Market Director for Atkins' Infrastructure division and is responsible for developing business around the UK’s biggest schemes such as the Northern Powerhouse, Crossrail 2 and the regeneration of Old Oak Common.

In 2012 Liam was responsible for developing an Olympic skills legacy which led to a collaboration with Citizens UK in East London and the development of the Pathways to Engineering scheme.

 

 

 

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