Following a listening campaign engaging with 1000s of people in face to face conversations across Tyne & Wear, a Launch Assembly took place in November 2017, with a radical plan for action.
Tyne & Wear Citizens members voted to focus action in three key areas: Poverty, Mental Health & Safer Cities.
We are currently taking action in those areas with four action teams and have so far:
Trebled number of Living Wage Employers in region from 30 to over 90.
Negotiated four schools to re-model and operate a Fair Change System, bringing over £60, 000 back to young people in receipt of Free School Meals.
Took public action to ‘Reclaim The Metro’ and won a Hate Crime Charter on Public Transport – jointly signed by Nexus, Arriva, Stagecoach & Go-North East. The charter includes a commitment to train transport staff in Hate Crime as well as a commitment to build confidence amongst communities to challenge and report hate crime.
Took action against hatred forming a Human Chain around Newcastle Central Mosque.
Launched a Citizens Commission on Mental Health which has involved 700 people; including holding three public hearings in Sunderland, Durham and Newcastle; Launched the report Living Well: Mental Wellbeing and Public Life in the North East; Held a Mental Health Assembly with 450 people.
You can read about the committments we won here.
The Tyne & Wear Citizens Leadership Group provide the chapter with updates from the past few months, examples of organising that has been happening during Covid-19, and some actions of how to meet online.
Val Barron of Communities Together Durham, and leader with Tyne & Wear Citizens, blogs about the importance of free school meal provision in light of Covid-19 and why it should be continued through the school holidays.
Evidence Consultation held in Newcastle this week as part of review into hate crime law.
Visit will take place at Newcastle University between 10-2pm and the commissioners will hear from over 40 women who will speak directly to the Commission to feed in their experiences of misogyny, islamophobia and intersectional hate crime.
Community organising group - which includes groups from Newcastle Central Mosque, West End Women and Girls and Newcastle University - has been campaigning for stronger Hate Crime laws, successfully bid for the hearing to be held in the North East.
by Gayle Purves, Advisor at Citizens Advice and Leader with Tyne and Wear Citizens
"A parent turns up to work to find that her employer has cancelled their shift. They’re paid by the hour and that shift was the difference between being able to put food on the table or not. As a result they’re now worse off having paid out of their own pocket for childcare and transport to work. The worker is both financially and mentally strained, filled with anxiety, worrying whether they will be given enough hours to pay the rent this month."
By Luke, Year 10 pupil at Park View School, Member of Tyne & Wear Citizens
I started participating in this campaign in November 2017, when one of my teachers approached me asking if I wanted to speak at the Tyne & Wear Citizens assembly about my experience of Free School Meals.
My teacher explained that many pupils on Free School Meals noticed that the way the meals system works further disadvantages them in some ways, rather than bridging the gap between their more privileged peers, because they’re unable to keep their lunch change.
A pupil-led investigation by schools, Tyne & Wear Citizens and Citizens UK reveals that pupils eligible for Free School Meals lose out on £65 million a year because unused allowance is retained by school meal provider.
Secondary school pupils lead national call for change as investigation finds £65 million of children’s Free School Meals allowance is being diverted;
Unspent ‘change’ from pupils’ meals isn’t rolled over for use on another day, but instead retained by the meal provider (private companies, schools or councils);
There are approximately 750,000 secondary school pupils eligible for free school meals and all are thought to be affected by this issue.
In May 2019 a new North of Tyne combined authority will be set up, with an election to decide its Mayor. As the largest civic society alliance in the region, our community leaders are coming together to have their say on what the new mayor should do and how power can shift to local people and communities. Find out more!
Tyne and Wear Citizens have run a Citizens Commission on Mental Health in the North East that produced a powerful report entitled 'Living Well'. The report covers stories of pain and of hope, full of testimony about our mental health issues, services and challenges. And recommendations for action by people with the power to improve our services. Read further to find out which commitments we have secured from key decision makers.
Today members of Tyne and Wear Citizens, part of national community organising alliance Citizens UK, launched a powerful report 'Living Well'. Stories of pain and of hope, full of testimony about our mental health issues, services and challenges. And recommendations for action by people with the power to improve our services.
This Commission has held a listening campaign that received over 300 testimonies about mental wellbeing and public life across the North East. Having analysed these testimonies and identified common issues such as early intervention, systems and choice over treatment, the Commission has produced a report with concrete proposals for much-needed change.