Newham Citizens' Assembly
Greening the borough will be first topic discussed by Citizens' Assembly
Newham’s residents have decided that ‘greening the borough’ is the issue they want England’s first permanent Citizens’ Assembly to discuss this summer.
In a historic opportunity to help shape the borough, residents voted on the two most important local issues from a shortlist of themes via the Council’s website.
Thirty one per cent chose ‘greening the borough’, closely followed with 30 per cent selecting ‘the 15 minute neighbourhood’, which will be debated at the second Citizens’ Assembly in the autumn.
During lockdowns, people realised how important parks and green spaces are to our mental and physical wellbeing. The Citizens’ Assembly will look at how our existing green spaces can be made more attractive and useful for people’s needs.
People want to live in vibrant communities where they can easily work, meet, shop, and access the everyday services they need, but are concerned that some of our high streets are struggling. The second Citizens’ Assembly discussion about the 15-minute neighbourhood will allow people to have their say on the neighbourhoods they want.
Nineteen per cent of residents selected tackling health inequalities; 15% a new deal for young people; and 5% for good work and taking advantage of new technology. These important issues are being addressed by the Council through a wide range of initiatives and programmes such as:
- ’50 Steps to a Healthier Newham’, which aims to tackle the health inequalities that exist within the borough, Newham’s Covid Health Champions, Community Health Champions and Social Welfare Alliance.
- The Youth Empowerment Fund to support young people in achieving their ambitions, our Youth Zones, Youth Assemblies, Year of the Young Person and our Youth Safety Board.
- ‘Our Newham Work’, which is designed to help Newham residents into work.
The new Citizens’ Assembly will be an exciting opportunity to lead the way in participatory democracy, by debating the issues residents are most concerned about.
Who sits on the Citizens’ Assembly
Ten thousand letters were sent to randomly selected households inviting residents to register for a place on the Citizens’ Assembly. Fifty people will be randomly selected to represent the area to discuss key issues and recommend ways the Council should tackle them.
Those people selected to take part will have the opportunity to meet with individuals from all walks of life who live in Newham. They will hear from engaging speakers, and discuss the issues involved in small groups, with facilitators to make sure everyone has their voice heard.
Chosen Citizens’ Assembly participants will take part in Covid compliant events over 3 weekends, and 3 weekday evenings between mid-June and end of July. Participants will receive £330 for their time and the chance to take part in a second Citizens’ Assembly planned later this year. Tech and other support will be provided to help people participate.
The outcomes of the Assembly will be presented to the Council and the cabinet will consider all the recommendations made, and give a formal public response to each one.
The Citizens’ Assembly is a chance to:
- Debate a key issue that most affects the lives of residents
- Discuss and work together to find solutions to the issues
- Connect with other Newham people and share knowledge
- Hear from great speakers
- Present recommendations to the Council for consideration
- Give directions on how funding available to your area is spent.
Giving people the chance to have their say forms part of a radical overhaul of democracy in the borough, designed to involve residents in decisions and build trust in the Council and make it a happier and healthier place to live.
For more information about how the Council is tackling health inequalities, supporting young people and getting people in to work, visit: