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Nottingham Citizens Assembly – What Sort of Nottingham Do We Want to Create?

22 May 18 words: Natalie Mills

How can we make a difference to issues such as homelessness, modern slavery, air pollution and hate crime? We joined Nottingham Citizens – a diverse alliance of local communities – in the Albert Hall to discuss creating a safer, better city...

Did you know Nottingham’s police force was the first to record misogyny as a hate crime? Nottingham Citizens are helping Notts lead the way in tackling issues such as modern slavery, air pollution and homelessness.

They’re a diverse bunch; the alliance includes schools, faith groups, charities and organisations from around the city. The Albert Hall hosted an evening of celebrating achievements and persuading everyone to do their bit. After some local talent – including a poem from LeftLion’s own Bridie Squires – we heard what they’d been up to.

Nottingham Citizens want to make Notts the UK's first slavery-free city. They have launched a website helping people to spot modern slavery, alongside encouraging individuals and businesses to act on suspicions. Mihn Dang also announced her launch of Survivor's Alliance, and the fact that Nottingham is her first city fully free from slavery.

Most air pollution in Nottingham comes from road transport, so cyclists like Tim Baggs are understandably worried. Nottingham Citizens encouraged us to share the University of Nottingham’s survey, to walk and cycle to work, and to support Clean Air Day. They’re also holding transport companies and the council to account.

Over the last year, Nottingham Citizens carried out the UK’s largest piece of hate crime research. The results – and stories such as speaker Tyrone’s (who was spat at on his way to Mencap) – are shocking. Notts police pledged to act with empathy, while a councillor admitted difficulties in finding resource for work in schools.

Anybody who lives in Nottingham can see the dramatic rise in rough sleepers. Despite cutbacks to funding and services, the City Council and NGO’s such as Framework are doing their best. Nottingham Citizens want to see more Clean Sheet Employers; a scheme helping ex-offenders such as speaker Bill off the streets and into a job.

The Nottingham Citizen's Assembly showed that grassroots campaigns can make a real difference. There was a lot to celebrate, like improvements in mental health training for GPs and prioritising diversity in the police.

Hearing personal stories from people who deal with injustices every day was especially touching. The event felt a little formal at times, and we didn't always feel comfortable standing up to pledge, but it was amazing to see our community taking action. And you can't go wrong ending on a kids' dance number with inflatable guitars.

The Nottingham Citizens Assembly took place on Thursday 10 May at the Albert Hall.

Nottingham Citizens website


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