25th March: available here from 2.00pm
For this talk, Neil will propose and discuss – why not a Citizens NI?
Neil Jameson is the Emeritus Director of Citizens UK and Director of the UK Centre for Civil Society. Citizens UK is the UK’s largest and most diverse community organization and is the home of Community Organizing. There are Citizens Affiliates in most English cities, the whole of Wales (Citizens Wales) and recently a Glasgow Citizens Alliance.
Community Organising is a proud and disciplined initiative of Civil Society with Civil Society’s interests at heart – people, power, politics and participation. Our member institutions learn and organize together to be more effective, wiser, more powerful and ultimately ‘at the table’ – and to win! We organize for the common good, we raise our own money, stand on our own feet, learn and grow through audacious public actions and in the process, strangers become friends. This is also a hands-on ‘leadership development process’. Local Citizens Alliances have been called ‘Universities of the Street’ — we learn the true craft of politics and how to bring about systemic change. It all depends what sort of change you want! Our members launched the Real Living Wage campaign in 2001 and there are now 6,000 accredited employers in the UK (though few in NI) and thousands of low wage workers lifted out of poverty.
Neil Jameson is the UK’s most experienced modern day Community Organiser. He founded & has overseen Citizens UK from 1988 to 2018. He stood back then & is now Emeritus Director focussed on organising in Scotland & with refugees & UK’s Muslim Communities. Prior to that he worked for The Children’s Society; Save the Children & Coventry & Somerset Local Authorities.
He is an Hon Doc of The Open University & Hon Fellow of Queen Mary University of London & in 2016 was awarded a CBE for services to social justice & community organising. In 2018 he was awarded the Albert Medal by the Royal Society of Arts for ‘innovation, service to community organising & restoring faith & trust in politics & the common good’.
In 2019 Neil was selected for The Green Party Parliamentary Seat of Poplar & Limehouse in London’s East End. He managed to double the Green vote. He is a Quaker, married with four children and seven grandchildren.
During his time at Citizens UK he built up the organisation from one Alliance (in Bristol) to 14 muscular & diverse Citizens Affiliates with a combined budget of over £6m — half of which is membership dues & the rest from Trusts, but none from local or national governments. Also, the Citizens ‘Guild of Professional Community Organisers’ grew from one to the present 80 (and growing).
Neil’s present quest is for bright, optimistic, creative people with a track record of making change with people, to consider the vocation of Community Organising with Citizens UK.