We are a group of sixth formers from Cardinal Pole and Our Lady’s Convent and we are members of the London City Safe Campaign. The City Safe campaign aims to reduce crime and develop a friendlier and safer environment in London.
For the past two days we have been talking to shop keepers in Upper Clapton and Homerton so they become City Safe havens in order to create a safer environment in our local community. A city safe haven is a place of refuge when you are in danger; the shop keeper will keep you safe in their shop and will report to the police immediately.
“We have enjoyed making relationships with the shop keepers, since most of them are very interested in signing up to be a City Safe shop and cooperate in making London’s streets safer.”
“It has been a really good experience making relationships with shopkeepers in our Local area we already feel that we are making progress in making our local community a friendly environment”
“There were clearly mixed reactions from shopkeepers to the campaign. Some shop keepers were hard to convince because of concerns of their own safety or they just wouldn’t be interested in it, however, when we explained that it is not just a few shops that are part of it but many in the local area they felt that they could make a difference by working as a community”
At the HYPE (Haringey Young People Empowered) pan-post-code football tournament/post-riot consultation. Great speaking to young people to hear their thoughts around causes and possible solutions. Communities taking charge post-riots.
The start of the “Citizens UK civil society response to the riots”. I’m on the Haringey Citizens table.
Community Leaders from North London introduce themselves and their their responses to and stories of the riots.
We are a group of sixth formers from Cardinal Pole School and Our Lady’s Convent High School, in Hackney and we are members of the TELCO’s CitySafe Campaign. The CitySafe campaign aims to reduce crime and develop a friendlier and safer environment in London, by building relationships between neighbours. The main argument behind the campaign is “If you know your neighbours, your street is safer.”
For the past few days we have been talking to shopkeepers in Upper Clapton and Homerton to le them know about CitySafe and see how our local community could become more involved with the campaign.
“We have enjoyed building relationships with the shopkeepers, since most of them are very interested in signing up to be CitySafe shops and cooperate in making London’s streets safer.”
“It has been a really good experience building these relationships with shopkeepers in our local area and we already feel that we are making progress in making our local community a friendly environment”
“There were clearly mixed reactions from shopkeepers to the campaign, at first. Some shopkeepers were cynical because of concerns of their own views about safety or they just fiund it hard to be interested. However, when we explained that it is not just a few shops that are part of it but many in the local area they felt that they could make a difference by working as a community”
For more details about CitySafe in Hackney, get in touch with our local organiser Sebastien: firstname.lastname@example.org
North London Citizens Team editing our “Community Walk” film, part of our Listening Campaign #communityorg (Taken with instagram)
In the British Library preparing for a lecture to be given at King’s College on the #LivingWage and #Citizenship (Taken with instagram)
This week we bid farewell to Living Wage Campaign community leader heavyweight Deborah Littman. Good luck in Vancouver as the Lead Organiser in Canada! (Taken with instagram)
Out bowling with the St Ignatius Church confirmation class. (Taken with instagram)
Spent the morning in ARK Academy where 180 students took part in a Listening Campaign exercise. “What concerns you in our local area?” #communityorganising #northlondoncitizens (Taken with instagram)
2,000 handouts asking “What is the one thing you’d like to change to make Haringey a better place? It’s all part of the North London Citizens Listening Campaign #communityorganising (Taken with instagram)
12 May 2011
QMUL Masters student
The late, great radical poet Adrian Mitchell memorably wrote that “most people ignore poetry because poetry ignores most people” in a pithy soundbite that could quite easily see poetry replaced by politics. Few of us today would argue against the idea that that our domestic politics is an increasingly dull and professionalised activity that keeps an elite corp of anoraks and geeks happily employed for life whilst depriving most of us of a way into something that should flow through the lifeblood of the nation.
Which is why events like tonight’s founding Shoreditch Citizens Assembly must surely give us hope as a glorious assembly of ordinary people - the middle england of the inner city - come together to affirm, emote, rage and act on the basic injustice that sees London’s one of hippest postcodes play host to shocking, enduring levels of poverty. As evidenced by the headline statistic that 52% of local children still live in poverty in 2011 in a neighbourhood where many of its newer arrivals routinely pay £52 for a half decent haircut.
Appropriately enough, the meeting played out in the jaded grandeur of a packed Shoreditch Town Hall, the former municipal centre turned squat cum rave cum art space now run as a community resource, whose original progressive intent is signalled by the simple carving of ‘progress’ on its awesome exterior. And they turned up in their hundreds to proudly take their place in the defining roll call of organisations that unites faith groups from christian, catholic and muslim traditions with schools, colleges and universities; and with charities and social enterprises all committed to doing real politics by confronting power in the interests of ordinary people.
The main business of the night was the affirmation that early and urgent action must happen around poor public housing if the area’s children are to be buck the trend of the last century and be able to realise the progress and social mobility taken for granted elsewhere. Mother after mother, often with their children in arms, took to the stage to report chronic neglect around their own housing circumstances through unchecked damp, mould, unsafe and noisy housing, the total effects of which are sick making, stress enhancing and life diminishing. They were backed up by all three local head teachers, who quietly, modestly, understatedly detailed the impact on their worlds, where too often the act of getting their students into school on time is a major achievement in itself.
In its first act of public opposition, the whole meeting universally deplored this hopeless situation, noted the futility of individual tenant complaint and, in the spirit of a community alliance committed to action, signed up to an imminent public action on main landlord, Hackney Homes, next tuesday, May 17, when Shoreditch Citizens will be setting up their own residents’ help desk outside Hackney homes HQ to first record tenants defects and then follow through on getting them sorted.
And that’s not all as the meeting also went on to affirm its own manifesto for long term improvement, in turn generated from a listening campaign with local people, and called a Commonwealth Agreement. This aims to share the area’s increasing wealth through guaranteeing a set percentage of work opportunities for local people, all paying the London Living Wage; whilst promoting better training and apprenticeship options and encouraging a real sense of neighbourliness.
All of which can hopefully begin to consign a century long record of poverty into the history books. Which is a vision we can all sign up to, and enjoys heavy duty backing including Mayor Boris, on message on video, and assorted VIPs in the hall, including local boy and Big Society guru, Lord Wei.
Most importantly, though, it unites the ordinary people of Shoreditch, who on their founding night turned up in huge numbers, tuned in to mass politics and came together to make their mark.
Bring it on.