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Empoderando Padres; a powerful parent group!

Written by Ana Ramirez Mourraille

This winter, I had the good fortune of accompanying a group of Latin American parents living in London for the creation of the Empoderando Padres group.

The project comes from a King’s College London initiative with Citizens UK; it is an active network of mothers and fathers striving for a greater understanding of the English education system, so they can to better support and guide their children in their education.


Está comprobado que durante la adolescencia, el apoyo de los papás resulta fundamental en reducir el “performance gap” entre los diferentes niños que asisten al colegio. El “performance gap” casi que puede definir cuáles jóvenes pueden acceder a la universidad y cuáles no. 

El proyecto surge como una colaboración entre King’s College London (KCL) y Citizens UK, es una red activa de madres y padres preocupados por entender mejor del sistema educativo inglés para apoyar y guiar mejor a sus hijos en su bachillerato.

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National award for Merton Citizens for achievements with local communities

Merton Citizens and South West London and St George’s Mental Health NHS Trust have been shortlisted for a national award for their work with the community.

Merton Citizens is a finalist in the Guardian Public Sector Awards 2019 Public Health and Wellbeing category after working closely with the South West London and St George’s Mental Health NHS Trust and the citizens of Merton to raise awareness of mental health and improve access to support for mental health conditions.

Merton Citizens spoke with and listened to 11,000 members of its local communities which had identified mental health as its top priority.

The alliance of community organisations, part of community organising charity Citizens UK worked with South West London and St George’s Mental Health NHS Trust and its health and care partners Merton Council and NHS Merton Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) to identify concerns and connect people together in developing sustainable solutions.

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Merton Citizens and Merton Council celebrate refugee resettlement work

Merton Citizens and Merton council celebrate their work of welcoming refugees. Merton is quickly becoming a Borough of best practice when it comes to the community sponsorship of refugees. Merton Citizens is part of Citizens UK, an organisation that brings together schools, charities, mosques, synagogues, universities and churches. In Merton there are 16 member organisations working together on issues they care about to make change. One of those issues is welcoming refugees. The third week of July has been marked out in the UK as Refugee Week and to celebrate the partnership between the council and Merton Citizens people gathered at the local Civic Centre. 

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South London Citizens accountability assembly - May 7th

On May 7th at 6:30PM, our alliances across South London will come together at Southwark Cathedral to hold to account leaders of FIVE local councils, plus representatives from the Greater London Authority, on the issues of: affordable housing; youth violence and safety; and sanctuary and welcome. To attend, please sign up for (free) tickets HERE

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Genuinely affordable Community Land Trust granted in Sydenham after a five-year campaign by Lewisham Citizens

Lewisham Citizens and London Community Land Trust (London CLT) are celebrating today after their planning application for 11 genuinely affordable homes in Brasted Close has been approved.

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Is there any room at the Inn? Croydon Citizens perform nativity action outside Council

On Friday, over 60 of our Croydon leaders performed a huge nativity play outside Croydon Council. The leaders asked their local councillor, Cllr Allison Butler, if there’s “room at the inn” for genuinely affordable homes to be in built in the borough.

The nativity performance comes after years of campaigning from Croydon Citizens to see Community Land Trusts built in the borough - specifically in the north where the majority of member institutions are based. In 2014, and again earlier this year at the local election assembly, leader of Croydon Council Cllr Tony Newman promised a site for 20 homes. However, despite working closely and productively with the group, the council still hasn’t agreed a site.

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Mental Health training for Merton

It's World Mental Health Day on 10th October and Merton Citizens are encouraging members t o promote this within their organisations, either during worship, school assemblies or team meetings. This can be done at any point during the month of October. We are doing this to raise awareness of the issues around mental health and to lessen the stigma which is often attached to it.

Merton Citizens are encouraging members to appoint someone in their community to become a mental health champion. This means: 

  • Signing up to do training in how to signpost people, how to have helpful conversations with people struggling with mental health issues, and how to help reduce the stigma surrounding mental health. 
  • Being a point person in your community who can direct people to the right services.
  • Being proactive in finding things your community can do to promote positive mental health.  This could be hosting a yoga course, encouraging people to use the headspace app , starting a weekly football team etc…

Listen to why Catherine at Mitcham Parish Church is becoming a mental health champion. Click here 



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Refugees Welcome installation for Brixton Design Trail

How best to engage a whole community in welcoming refugees? Invite them to help create something to which everyone can contribute. From 15-23 September, Refugees Welcome Lambeth and the residents of Trinity Gardens have welcomed people for this years Brixton Design Trail, with a hand-made installation in Trinity Gardens, SW9 that celebrates our diversity and the journeys that have brought us here.

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A step closer to permanently affordable homes in Lewisham

Lewisham Citizens' leaders and campaigners have submitted plans for the first ever permanently affordable homes in the Borough to their local Council.

Members of Lewisham Citizens met and thanked Damien Egan, the new Mayor of Lewisham, for pledging to build 200 Community Land Trust homes over the next four years.

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Parent power! Community Organising for better access to higher education

Check out the new video on Parent Power, our fantastic parental engagement programme run in partnership with King's College London Widening Participation department.

(video credit: Small Axe)

Parent Power is a group of mums and dads from South London. They are learning about the education system and how to give their kids the best chance of going to university and have had training and information provided to them by King's College London and expert speakers.

They are also taking power into their own hands, organising their own campaigns and breaking down barriers to access elite universities.

Our involvement in the programme is about giving parents the power and tools that come with the Citizens UK method of community organising. The programme enables them to improve the chances of their own children accessing higher education as well as tackling wider educational inequality in their communities. So far they've won fully funded open days to universities and 90% bursaries in private summer schools. The parents are also running campaigns on other barriers to accessing university including the cost and quality of private tuition and the huge application fees for British Citizenship.  

After securing the funded open day to Cambridge University especially for their group, the parents parents were featured on Sky News, the BBC and in The Times newspaper,.

For more information contact James.Asfa@citizensuk.org

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