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Citizens UK to play key role in building ‘Big Society’

The national home of community organising in Britain, Citizens UK, will play a major part in helping Government increase the capacity of communities to tackle social problems.

Citizens UK chief executive Neil Jameson [pictured] was one of those taking part in a meeting of community leaders with the prime minister and deputy prime minister at No. 10 Downing St this morning.

The meeting took place in the Cabinet Office. Both the venue, and the fact that it was taking place early in the new government was an ''expression I hope enough of how much importance we together in this new coalition government attach to what you do”, Mr Cameron told the meeting.

The Government has announced a new Office for Civil Society, headed by Nick Hurd.

In the Conservatives’ ‘Big Society’ paper and manifesto, Citizens UK is mentioned as the main resource for the training of community organisers, which the prime minister repeated at this morning’s meeting.

Jameson will be meeting Big Society Network chair Nat Wei next week to discuss how community leaders might be trained in methods pioneered by the Industrial Areas Foundation in the US, of which Citizens UK is an affiliate.

Neil Jameson said:

“We are pleased to be part of launching the Big Society vision, and at the recognition the Government has given to Citizens UK and London Citizens. We are delighted that community organising is seen as having a key role in rebuilding confidence in politics and in our neighbourhoods”.

On 3 May Citizens UK hosted an assembly of 2,500 people at which the three prime ministerial candidates responded to a six-point “peoples’ agenda” including the call for an end to child detention and the recognition of civil society.

Citizens UK’s largest and best-known affiliate is London Citizens, an alliance of 150 organisations, most of which are faith congregations.

Both the Miliband brothers and Jon Cruddas have spoken recently of the importance of community organising as a means of reconnecting the Labour Party with its base.

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