As we head towards the next General Election, Citizens UK today launch their Citizens Agenda, an overview of the issues their membership has agreed are the most important to organise around.

Their community organising method provides a way for people to focus on what unites us, rather than what divides us. They do this by listening deeply to the people in our communities, identifying what change we need to make things better and engaging decision-makers to make those changes happen.

Now, their eighteen Citizens UK chapters have set out seven key issues they are asking the next UK Government to address. The Citizens Agenda focuses on the challenges our communities are facing and amplifies the voices of people who are experiencing the issues first-hand. They share their vision for change and solutions that could make a difference and hope the Citizens Agenda will contribute to shaping the political debate ahead of the next election.

After further listening and engagement they will publish a Citizens Manifesto with clearer and more detailed policy proposals.

Our Diocese has been working closely with Tyne & Wear Citizens, one of the UK Chapters and a grassroots alliance of organisations working for social justice and the common good, to help develop this agenda for the general election.

The Diocese of Hexham and Newcastle is one of the two strategic partners of Tyne and Wear Citizens and Fr Chris Hughes says, “It is inspiring to see how the campaigns, which Diocesan members have been involved in have helped to develop some of the key themes.”

He added, “Young people in our Diocese have influenced the campaigns for school-based counselling, improving racial justice in education and achieving cheaper public transport.” Pupils of St Thomas More school in North Shields have had a particular role in these campaigns.

The Diocese has also been involved in campaigning to make Newcastle an accredited ‘living wage city‘. Nationally, Citizens UK reports that around 3.5 million people still earn less than the real living wage, with women and minority ethnic workers disproportionately likely to be in low paid jobs.

You can also read an article on this topic in The Tablet, by Ellen Teague, shared online on Tuesday 19 September 2023.