Ark Academy students were honoured for their work with North London Citizens at the first Brent Citizens Assembly at Willesden New Testament Church of God.
The event was in two parts: the first was about the Citizens alliance and what has been achieved in the last 18 months. Brent Citizens (the local members of national community organising charity Citizens UK) presented the results of their campaigns and honoured the members that have been significant leaders in the work we have been doing.
Ark Academy were recognised on the evening with three awards; one as a group for ‘NLC Action of the Year’ for their work on the Bus Campaign. Year 10 student Samir Hussein won ‘Young Leader of the Year’ for his lobbying of local politician Cllr Butt on the Living Wage issue and Carla Haslam, Vice Principal of Citizenship and Ethos at Ark Academy, won Leader of the Year for her tireless work on the NLC campaigns. Our video on the Bus Campaigns was well received by the audience, as was the impressive information about our work on the Living Wage issue.
Ark Students also performed their ‘City Safe Haven’ flash mob routine for the 350 strong audience. Year 7 student Tre Camps said “We were very persuasive and enthusiastic about what we were doing and it paid off. It was inspirational to see how the other young people expressed themselves as I would like to speak like that in the future.”
The second half of the assembly was when Brent Citizens got down to business; with our community leaders negotiating on stage with the candidates for leader of Brent Council. Brent Citizens had a full agenda from their listening campaign and had some specific asks to put to the candidates in order to demand clear pledges from them in public.
Brent Citizens did a listening campaign creating a people’s manifesto and the key issue that came out of this was: a safer borough, through safer buses and streets. They heard about the terrible journeys young people have to make through areas where people are loitering outside pubs and betting shops shouting abuse at them. This prompted a new campaign on reducing antisocial behaviour.
The Stand Out Commitments
Living Wage – All candidates committed to get three major organisations in the Borough to go Living Wage in their next term, including one care provider.
Social Care – Cllr. Butt committed to work with us on a clear aspiration to making the Borough an ambassador for the Social care charter, implementing as much as possible across Council services.
Safer Streets – All candidates committed to put funds into signage and enforcement of no drink zones, working with Brent Citizens to identify hotspots for anti-social drinking and behaviour and then targeting them.
Cllr. M Butt said: “We are proud to have been able to make the Council a Living Wage employer and we are keen to commit to being an ambassador for the Living Wage and work with Brent Citizens to get another major company within Brent to join us as a Living Wage employer.”
Cllr P. Lorber said: “We thank Brent Citizens as we feel this is how the community can really get involved in politics. We are excited at the prospect of working together in the next term, if we win the election, on making Brent a real no drinking zone and putting money into signage and enforcement in areas with low compliance.”