Opinion: We are at the table and setting the menu

PUBLISHED: 08:30 05 October 2019

The Salvation Army's John Clifton is bringing communities together.

The Salvation Army's John Clifton is bringing communities together.


When it comes to decision-making, they say "If you are not at the table, then you are probably on the menu!"

Ilford Salvation ArmyIlford Salvation Army

However, when it comes to lots of decisions being made about changes in Ilford Town Centre - whether by developers or the council - sometimes we can feel like there is not even a table. It can feel like we are just a takeaway dinner stuck in the back of a scooter whizzing down Winston Way!

When the table doesn't exist, then we need to build it. This involves communities coming together to build power so that we can act on the things that we care about to effect change in the world.

Recently, I have been involved in an initiative to do just that - the creation of Ilford Citizens, a 'micro-alliance' of national community organising charity Citizens UK.

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Community organising is about returning power to people.

It prioritises personal relationships, membership of organisations rooted within the community

and a pragmatic approach to influencing people who hold power in government, business or public life.

It has been so exciting to see institutions - faith, community, schools, charities - that are deeply rooted in the life of our town stepping up to the mark to organise our money together, and to organise our people too.

We are not only making sure that there is a table - but we are at it, we are setting the menu, and we are ready to negotiate for an Ilford that makes us all proud.

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