Newham Citizen UK organised a Mayoral Accountability Assembly for Labour and Conservative candidates Rokhsana Fiaz and Attic Rahman (respectively). This assembly offered members of the community, including a group of our learners, a chance to discuss real issues affecting the local area with those responsible.
Citizens UK is an alliance of various diverse local communities, who work together for the common good. Unifying schools, universities, churches, mosques, synagogues, parent groups, health trusts, charities and unions, Citizens UK have facilitated a powerful space where local residents can be involved in the decision-making of Newham, putting people at the heart of democracy.
The assembly began with a moving poem recital, choir performance and traditional Albanian dance routine. These performances perfectly set the tone for the evening, displaying the wealth of culture and talent across the borough.
The evening went on to celebrate various wins across Citizens UK alliance including issues such as living wage, immigration and community policing. Our very own learners were a part of these celebrations and took to the stage to report on their wins following the youth safety and policing campaign. With the help of learners Ashton, Muaadh, Kai and Arteom, alumni Atiya shared the positive outcomes from the campaign:
LDE UTC’S Resident Poet Lewis shared that, 'I was proud to see our learners stand up and speak about actions they have taken to positively impact their community. They are a part of something powerful.'
After celebrating some of the many wins across various communities in Citizens UK, the mayoral candidates were presented with Campaign Asks on the following issues: health inequalities, living, housing and youth safety. Campaign Asks are a set of actions that the Mayoral candidates are challenged by Citizens UK to commit to. The Campaign Asks are based on significant issues within the community which are highlighted in Citizens UK’s manifesto.
Different members of the community stepped up to share their experiences regarding these issues. Through testimonies, spoken word poetry and other forms of expressions, members of the community passionately articulated their experiences and proposed positive steps towards a solution. The diversity of the community was powerfully represented; primary and secondary school students, living wage campaigners, charity workers, religious leaders and other many other individuals unified under the common goal of bettering their local area and had their voices and their causes heard.
The mayoral candidates were presented with the following Asks:
To support the campaign for better mental health support and to end health inequalities.
To encourage Royal Docks tenants to pay Living Wage.
To commit to building a community Land Trust on Coolfin Road site.
To find a site for a Social Housing Learning & Support Centre.
To hire 'lived experience' consultants to advise on local housing issues.
To support the campaign for TFL to ensure students in uniform or with a college card can travel on public transport.
Both mayoral candidates committed to all the asks except housing. However, both candidates agreed to further discussion relating the housing asks.
Learner Ashton shared, ‘Going to the Citizen UK assembly was an inspirational experience and helped me understand how to articulate the needs for change in our borough.’
This Assembly gave our learners a chance to hear from key members in the community who have been creating connections in the local area and affecting positive change. However, our learners are not simply observers, but they are also active members of Citizens UK partaking in the effort to achieve common good and work towards a better community, their community.
‘The Mayoral Accountability Assembly was brilliant. It was an opportunity for the local people to show their power and hold politicians accountable. But what was amazing and truly inspiring was witnessing so many young people at the heart of the campaigns, including our leaners at LDE UTC. They had the opportunity to be a part of organic deep-rooted politics and now understanding the role they must play in their community and society as future leaders,' Edward, Chaplaincy Support and Mentor.
To find out more about the amazing work Citizens UK are doing in the community visit: Home - Citizens UK