Neil Jameson CBE – Executive Chair
Neil was founder and Executive Director of Citizens UK from 1988 to 2018 and is now its Emeritus Director. He was responsible for driving the UK’s largest and most diverse Community Organising body and establishing broad-based Citizens Alliances in most large cities in England and Wales. Neil is first and foremost a Community Organiser – seeking out talented civic leaders and young organisers with the courage and commitment to organise with others democratically to strengthen civil society and pursue the common good. In 2018 he was awarded the Albert Medal for outstanding service to civil society by Royal Society of Arts. Neil has been at the heart of the Community Sponsorship movement in the UK and globally since it started in the UK in 2016. He recognises that Community Sponsorship requires organised teams of diverse civil society groups and businesses and that, done well, it is a very positive experience and benefit for both the Sponsor and the Sponsored. His experience suggests as Sponsorship grows and diversifies across the UK, this movement has the chance of challenging any negative narratives about refugees and will help strangers to become friends in this global world. With generous funding and commitment from the Volant Trust, and the support of Trustees, Neil founded Citizen UK’s ‘Sponsor Refugees Foundation’ in 2017 and was Executive Chair of the Advisory Board until March 2020.
Neil is an active member of two Community Sponsorship groups in London together with his wife, Jean: West End Welcomes Refugees and Whitechapel Welcomes Refugees. The Westend Welcome Group is an exciting partnership of three Christian congregations and welcomed its family in January 2020.
Neil says “Community Sponsorship has changed my life personally and publicly. Personally, my wife, family and friends are actively involved in two Sponsor Groups. My Quaker Meeting is formally Sponsoring the West End Group and has 15 members of the Meeting as excellent active volunteers. Every new registered Sponsor Group will help make sure that Britain remains a Welcoming country. I also welcome the healthy growth of more diverse Lead Sponsor Groups. This exciting development will give more and more citizens and their communities the privilege and mutual benefit of welcoming refugee families who are fleeing war, poverty and the climate crises a settled and welcoming home and future”