Brighton and Hove The citizens, made up of 120 representatives from across the city, are urging candidates in the May election to support the group on issues that affect thousands of people.
The main requirements of the group are the improvement of the private rental system, the introduction of Brighton and a safer Hove, tackle the cost of public transport, ensure all council workers earn a living wage and tackle the ‘mental health emergency’ in schools and colleges.
Founded in 2019, Brighton and Hove Citizens Group is an alliance of schools, colleges, universities, unions and organizations representing over 50,000 people.
William Baldwin, Head of Sixth Form at Bhasvic College in Hove, and Monique Forbes-Broomes, Student Engagement Manager at the University of Sussex Students’ Union, are co-chairing the organisation.
They said: “When there are fewer and fewer people in our city, it seems to be taken policy seriously, often because they feel their voices don’t count, our work shows that there is hope.
“We have created the largest and most diverse alliance of civil society organizations in Brighton and Hove.
“We listened to more than 12,000 people in our communities in one-on-one and small-group conversations to find out what people want to see in our city.
“Our manifesto is the most authentic manifesto local elections let’s see how it takes root in what thousands of people want.
“Our aim is to work with whoever becomes the next leader of the council to ensure that our very specific proposals become a reality.
“We believe that ordinary people banded together should be at the table of power to be able to influence decisions about their lives.”
Shelly Baker, principal of Ward School, said a citywide school counseling session, one of the organization’s demands, is “long overdue.”
She said: “The current system means that students who do not need higher levels of support, but still need more support than teachers and support staff in our schools, are slipping through the gaps.
“We need preventative measures, not reactive measures, and young people can quickly become disempowered if this support is not available when they need it most.”
Brighton and Hove Citizens estimate the cost of such a rollout to be around £2 million.
Since the group’s inception, members have successfully campaigned to restore accessible toilets in Hove, demanded the council declare a mental health state of emergency and pushed for local nursing home staff to be paid the Real Living Wage.
Voters will go to the polls in Brighton and Hove to elect 54 MPs to represent the city on May 4.
For the first time in the city, people will have to show photo ID to cast their vote on polling day.