On Tuesday 9th February, 95 delegates from 15 member institutions attended the annual Citizens:mk Delegates Assembly in The Guildhall, Cornerstone Church. After a roll call and updates from several institutions on successful training events and campaign developments within their institutions, delegates were asked to consider MK’s 50th birthday next year and imagine what MK will be like in 50 years.
The key themes emerging from this visioning were:
- city – MK a proper city, one of the best in the UK
- energy – self-sufficient, sustainable city
- equality – fewer families in poverty, able to hold my partner’s hand in public
- environment – lots of green spaces, beautiful
- housing – more affordable housing, integrated infrastructure
- public transport – reliable, friendly and fairly priced
- diversity – full integration of refugees unable to return to their country
- technology – more tech businesses, robots to tidy!
The most frequently mentioned was public transport (see full list here).
Delegates were then asked to vote for campaign proposals presented by campaign teams. The following campaign goals were formally approved for the year ahead:
- Weaving Trust – hold at least 8 Weaving Trust events between April 2016 and March 2017, including one massive event involving 50 different MK institutions in January, to begin MK’s 50th birthday celebrations in January 2017.
- Living Wage – to have 50 accredited Living Wage employers in 2017 to celebrate MK’s 50th birthday.
- Community Energy – ask MK Council to:
- Work with Wolverton Community Energy on a pilot community energy project, involving the installation of solar panels installed on at least 2 roofs it owns or controls.
- Work with Citizens MK to share lessons learned from this project with communities across MK.
- Designate a Cabinet member and Director with responsibility for tackling Fuel Poverty, reducing energy use and making MK a more sustainable city.
- Provide information and help to promote the Citizens MK Big Green Switch initiative to MK residents.
- Refugees Welcome –
- identify 25 landlords willing to lease premises to MK Council for purpose of housing refugees.
- school members will receive a presentation or workshop for staff and/or students about refugees and the current crisis and we will engage with 25 or more other schools
- lobby MK Council to double its current commitment (80 refugees) and settle 50 refugee families during this Parliament.
- continue to build up a directory of support services.
At Accountability Assembly on 26th April, power-holders will be asked to pledge commitment to achieving these goals. Pledges made by member institutions for turnout on 26th April is 170 against a target of 300, with some still to be confirmed, as follows:
|Brooklands Farm Primary School||20|
|Christ the Cornerstone||10|
|Global Outreach Foundation||TBC|
|MK Equality Group||TBC|
|MK Muslim Association||10|
|MK Quaker Meeting||20|
|St. Augustine’s RC Church||TBC|
|St. Francis’ & St. Mary Magdalene’s||7|
|St. Paul’s RC School||10|
|Stantonbury Ecumenical Partnership||9|
“Chairing a meeting like the Delegates’ Assembly is always a game of two halves,” said Peter Leeson of Q:alliance. “On the one side, there is the thrill of seeing so many volunteers and people willing to support and encourage and move things on, on the other side, the continuous angst as to what is about to go wrong: the person who does not show up, the one who will ignore the bell and not stop talking, the failure of technology, the project which does not get the support it needs… Thankfully, no major incidents disrupted the evening and the whole event was dominated by the optimistic support of all participants and volunteers.”
“Co-Chairing the Delegates Assembly was a real pleasure,” said Rukshana Malik, of MK Muslim Association. “It was really nice to see so many people voice issues that matter to them. It really made me appreciate how much effort people were putting into their campaigns and opened my eyes to things going on in and around Milton Keynes.”