Powered by PrivacyPolicies.com


Leeds Leaders' COVID-19 Reflections

Dr Ann Marie Mealey, Senior Teaching Fellow and ethicist at Leeds Trinity University, shares her reflections on the implications of COVID-19 for faith-based universities trying to maintain relationships and remain active in their local community.

Add your reaction

The Method is on Hold. The Mission Stays the Same

Deputy Director Jonathan Cox shares some reflections on the continued relevance of Citizens UK's mission at a time when its day-to-day methods are ‘locked down’, and how our Community Organisers are ‘disorganising and reorganising’ to support member institutions to live that mission out.

Add your reaction

Citizens UK teams up with Facebook

This Thursday [2 April] hundreds of faith leaders will congregate, not in place of worship but on a Zoom video conference, to tackle together the huge challenge presented to institutions by the Covid 19 pandemic.

The call, joined by global experts in faith and digital technology from Facebook  comes after a huge survey by Citizens UK of faith and community organisations laid bare the need for adaptation and digital skills sharing amongst institutions. Many organisations are moving their services online as well as grappling with shortages of volunteers for foodbanks, befriending services and other community projects, caused by members of the congregation going into isolation.

Add your reaction

Free School Meals: leaving no child behind in the coronavirus crisis

As this fast moving public health crisis unfolds, Citizens UK and its local chapters have been working with schools to address the government's response and clarify how low income families will be supported as the school closure continues.

Add your reaction

Brighton and Hove Citizens builds community through covid-19

Brighton and Hove Citizens is an alliance of community groups working together to build grassroots leadership and relationships across diverse communities in our city. We usually meet in person for individual, heartfelt meetings, or at public actions for social justice causes. However, like so much else in our wonderful city, we are adjusting and changing our practices as we together battle Covid-19.

As a community it is key that we stay at home. But we believe that staying at home cannot, and should not, mean that we stop relating to each other. Indeed, in times of social isolation it is key that we take extra time and care to reach out beyond our usual social circles to find social commonality and community in our city.

This is why we, as Brighton and Hove Citizens, are running an online campaign through April and May to build community through covid-19. 

1 reaction Share

Ealing Students take action on Mental Health

By Paulina Bielecka, Year 12 at William Perkin High School

On 10 February 2020, 70 students from across 5 schools in Ealing came to William Perkin High School for a Mental Health Summit, with recently elected James Murray MP.

The year 12 house captains worked extremely hard with our organiser, Daniel Mackintosh, to put together this Summit, which was created for students to share stories of how they were experiencing mental health challenges, and think together about the next steps we can take to make a difference. 

We had a couple of William Perkin students, Lucia and Cloe, who shared their personal stories and how it affected their mental health. It was very inspirational as they told us how they dealt with this pressure and to see them so confident now, made the whole room confident in themselves .Trisha, a Year 11 student, shared with the room a video of the internal thoughts us teenagers can have,and how easy it is to say “I’m fine” when, in reality, we are suffering. We also had Mr Chugg who bravely spoke about his personal experiences in university and how his mental health was affected in which he claimed that “failing and mental health didn’t matter because in the end I succeeded”. For him to do this he had to learn to speak with others about how he was feeling. This left the whole room deep in thought because it was a very moving story however. He demonstrated courage and was able to make the right decisions in the end because he had people around him to help. After listening to all of these speakers, we all gathered in our schools and came up with next steps to help the younger years with their mental health. One idea some students had was to create talking groups, where students have a dedicated room where they come together to share how they feel. 

We also had the local MP James Murray who attended this summit, who listened to our stories and our ideas, and to seek his commitment to working with us so we can make a difference. us to present. He listened to speakers from our school and was interviewed by our lovely Lucia from Year 13 about his personal mental health and how he protects it. He replied:”I try to push aside difficulties but that’s not the right thing to do. It’s better to talk to someone and share our difficulties, because we all face these challenges together”. During his interview with Lucia ,she asked him if he could commit to broker a meeting with the Ealing Clinical Commissioning Group, which is responsible for mental health services in the borough. He said yes! And when we come back to school, we will be following up with James Murray MP to build the next step of this campaign.

Add your reaction

Sticking together in tough times; Citizens UK response to COVID-19 crisis


Dear Member Institutions,

These are scary times and we wish you and your loved ones and communities well.

But these are also times when the trust, relationships and power we have built over years of organising can be mobilised to support our communities and our country at a time of unprecedented strain.

The first priority for us is the well-being of our members and staff so we have shifted all of Citizens UK’s activities to a work from home approach and all meetings taking place on phone or video call. With the elections postponed we are shifting the big Assemblies planned in London, Manchester, South Wales, Birmingham and Essex to next year.

In this time of crisis, our mission remains as important as ever. With the need for physical distancing comes a danger of isolation, with the worry of infection comes the possibility of prejudice and with economic disruption those already struggling become even more vulnerable.

We need to stay together, to listen and take considered action – so while we may have to distance ourselves physically, we increase our social solidarity, and our commitment to work together for the common good.

Add your reaction

TELCO Awards 2020

Over the last 12 months, TELCO members have built power and won some amazing campaigns. Thousands of leaders have been involved in action across East London, and our focus this year has been on Breadth, Depth and Impact. Below, we celebrate some of our members. For more highlights see our Annual Meeting Brochure.

Add your reaction

Schools can spend to help children with Free School Meals money during shutdown

In this moment of unprecedented crisis, we are responding to the needs of our members.

Citizens UK joined with member schools, Teach First, Big Education Conversation and member schools in Tyne and Wear and London to call for action to help children losing Free School Meals in the face of imminent school closures.

The Education Secretary Gavin Williamson announced at 5pm today support for schools:


This means schools can now get reimbursed for spending on food vouchers to help families during the 5 week school closures.

Read our statement in response to Gavin Williamson, Secretary of State for Education's announcement on school closures and Free School Meal support for schools

We are reassured to see schools across the country receive news from Secretary of State Gavin Williamson that Headteachers will be able to use Free School Meal funding to meet the needs of children when schools close - and welcome to announcement the Department for Education is looking into a National Voucher Scheme. Access to Free School Meal funding as our schools close due to the spread of Covid-19 will be a vital part of the social safety net which families need to keep children healthy and well fed with schools shut for a longer period.

Education and civil society organisations Whole Education, Teach First, Fair Education Alliance, Big Education Trust, and Citizens UK - altogether representing over 10,000 of families, teachers, and school leaders - and multi-academy trusts* yesterday wrote to the major supermarket chains, urging that schools could purchase vouchers giving families access to a wider range of food items than is currently possible. Currently, most major retailers only offer meal deal vouchers.  

Matthew Bolton, Executive Director, Citizens UK said: “We know the people in our communities, our neighbours, who are most at risk. The elderly, the ill, the precariously employed and families on low incomes. Schools already give vital assistance to the families of pupils on free school meals and this move will help them do their bit in the crisis response needed to safeguard the most vulnerable."

Seb Chapleau, Director of the Big Education Conversation said: “Headteachers are increasingly worried about what life will look like when schools close, especially for vulnerable children. We are grateful that the DfE and retailers have put practical steps in place to enable schools to distribute food vouchers to families in need, which is definitely the right thing to do. We’ll carry on working with school leaders to identify what is needed to support our children and families through the biggest challenge our country has faced for a very long time. In times like these that we can define what it means to be human and work together for the common good.”

James Pope, Executive Director of the Whole Education network said: "WE welcome this announcement that will practically support our most vulnerable children during this crisis. WE are very grateful to the DfE and the organisations, schools and trusts who have worked so hard to make this happen - and for their incredible, ongoing hard work supporting young people and their communities. WE look forward to continuing working with inspirational schools and leaders to ensure young people continue to learn and; more importantly, are happy and healthy."

Contact: Andy May, Citizens UK / 07917 824009

Contact: Alex Hardiman, Whole Education, 07913 107397

Add your reaction

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.

Add your reaction

Sign up

Get the latest campaign news, join our movement for change today!