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Community Organising

Anna Freud became a member organisation of Citizens UK in April 2021 to learn a new way of working and to build relationships with community-level organisations.


Citizens UK and Anna Freud

Citizens UK define community organising as ‘about bringing people together to win change. This means building community-led solutions to big and small problems, that work for everyone.’ This is done by building positive working relationships between communities, elected power-holders, businesses and anyone else who holds influence and power. They give control back into people’s hands to hold those responsible to account.

Central to our Closing the Gap strategy is our aim to build relationships with communities and learn from their lived experience. Community organising provides a methodology to help Anna Freud to build connections with our local community, to understand local and wider needs and co-design and develop programmes that meet those needs. Working in a more relational way which is at the heart of community organising will support us with these aims.

Over the past two years, Community Organisers at Anna Freud have worked with the Community Development Lead and Citizens UK to build Anna Freud’s capacity to develop community-based initiatives around supporting the mental health needs of children, young people and families. 

Our work in 2023 has included:

Taking part in a public action to oppose child detention in the Illegal Migration Bill. Raising awareness and engaging ten Anna Freud colleagues to attend the action, which took place in Parliament Square along with school children and a number of other London Citizens member organisations.

Participation in scoping workshops with UCL Partners for a piece of research on how we can apply community organising practices in the field of mental health, working in collaboration with young people. Providing the lead researcher with connection to our young champions and engaging other Anna Freud colleagues in this work.

Coordination of a Community Organising training day open to staff working across Anna Freud to introduce them to this methodology and help them to start thinking about how this can be applied to their daily work.

Setting up a Community Organising Network, following the model of our staff Diversity Networks, to help explore and embed community organising into our ways of working at Anna Freud and build engagement and connection with colleagues.

More recently in April 2024 a group of 17 people consisting of Anna Freud young champions and staff participated in the Citizens London Mayoral Assembly. They joined 2000 Citizen’s UK members to present their manifesto to the top two mayoral candidates. A powerful event that included many children and young people and centred the voices of marginalised Londoners.