SLRA is a proud member of the Lambeth Citizens Alliance. Citizens UK is a community organising network of many different local organisations, charities, churches, and schools. They run different campaigns around housing, young people, migration, environment, mental health, living wage, and many more. The network meets with MPs, mayors, and local politicians regularly in which they are able to present issues of the community, challenges and problems, and ask for change. This is a huge opportunity for SLRA because often it is quite difficult for a small, local, grassroots organisation to have the opportunity to share their expertise and insights with politicians.
In April of 2022, there will be local elections in Lambeth – the borough that SLRA is based in. This is extremely important for us as a local grassroots charity. Before the elections, the Lambeth Citizens Alliance will meet with the two, most likely candidates of the election, and present specific asks we want to see changed in their governmental period.
In preparation for this meeting, the different local organisation in Lambeth could pitch topics and subjects that are important for them. In the end, different organisations worked together for these topics: housing, welcoming for migrants and refugees, social mobility, and climate. Every coalition worked hard to come together with a 7-minutes pitch that should cover:
1) Introduction of the topic and why it is important
2) Sharing a story
3) Presenting the asks, explaining why they are important and achievable
We, SLRA, worked together with English for Action, Herne Hills Welcome Refugee, and Lambeth Welcome Refugee. In some preparation meetings before, we came up with two asks around immigration advice and ESOL.
On Wednesday – the 23rd of February 2022, at 6.30pm – we joined the Zoom delegates assembly with all the other Lambeth members of the Citizens. As preparation our team mobilized our community leaders, active members, trustees, staff members, and volunteers to join this important event because the more people of one organisation participated, the more votes the organisation get. If twelve members of an organisation or more joined, the organisation gets 6 votes – This was our goal, and we are happy that we achieved this. In the end, we were over 30 people from SLRA! It was fantastic to know that there is such big and supporting team behind us.
The assembly started with each organisation introducing themselves and their work, then there were the different presentations for the different topics after which the organisation could discuss in a break-out room how they wanted to split their votes. In other words, how many votes for which topic.
Our break-out room was really busy, having more than 30 people and 17 minutes time to reflect about what we have heard and to decide how to use our 6 votes, was quite difficult but not impossible.
In the end, Abigail from Citizens presented the results: third priority housing; second social mobility and ….
……drum roll…… First WELCOMING MIGRANTS AND REFUGEES!
This is a fantastic outcome because our asks will therefore be the priority number one when we will meet with the potential Lambeth council candidates in April! Every single one of us is extremely grateful, proud, and happy about this.
We are highly motivated to prepare for this important event, to already invite every single one of you, and to try to create the change that is needed to made Lambeth a truly welcoming borough for everyone!