Newham Council celebrates 10 years of citizenship ceremonies

28 March 2014 in Council and democracy and Mayor
Over the past ten years, more than 35,000 residents from every corner of the world have taken part in Newham Council’s citizenship ceremonies to become British citizens.
Citizenship ceremony
The Mayor of Newham, Sir Robin Wales attended a special citizenship ceremony to mark this achievement and welcome the new British citizens to the borough.

Since 2004, more than 1,800 ceremonies have been held in Newham. The ceremonies are a way of welcoming new citizens to Britain and into their local community rather than just signing a document with a solicitor. All new citizens are presented with a nationality certificate and a commemorative medal.

The 10th anniversary ceremony saw people from all over the world become British citizens. The new citizens included people originally from Armenia, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Hong Kong and Somalia. Some people had moved to Britain to escape war, others had moved to study or work. 

The citizenship ceremonies are an important part of the Mayor’s approach to integration bringing people from different backgrounds together. Other initiatives which encourage this include the council’s free event programme and funding inclusive street parties to craft shared experiences and build a sense of community. Additionally, the council’s private sector property licensing scheme enforces basic decent standards to ensure immigrants are not exploited by unscrupulous landlords. The council’s successful job brokerage scheme Workplace and social housing allocations are prioritised for those who commit to living in the borough.

Sir Robin Wales, Mayor of Newham said: “I am delighted to celebrate 10 years of citizenship ceremonies. They are an important way of recognising the commitment the new citizens are making to this country. Newham is the most diverse place in the world for its size and we’re likely to have seen people from every nation in the world become British citizens here. I’m proud that for generations Newham has been the first place in the UK that new arrivals call home.

“As a council we need to take an active role to encourage people of different backgrounds to mix by building common ground and promoting fairness. I believe we are one community with a multitude of backgrounds, identities and experiences and I celebrate those differences. Our diverse backgrounds and histories make this a richer, more exciting and more dynamic place.”