`Mrs Lawrence doesn't have the tools to achieve her vision. We do'

A perennial problem with past campaigns "to remoralise Britain" is that they have spoken with middle-class accents, and have had most impact on affluent suburbia which is not where the problem is.

What about the poorer, more crime-harried communities? Who is campaigning there for a better social fabric? As it happens, quite a lot of people and quite a lot of organisations are - ranging from self-help groups to educational and campaigning organisations such as the Phoenix Centre in Birmingham.

One of the most interesting recent developments is the growth of "people power" organisations based on churches, mosques, synagogues and Hindu temples throughout England.

In their statement of aims and ideals, the members of the Citizen Organising Foundation quote Proverbs 29 v.18: "Where there is no vision the people perish."

Mrs Lawrence would doubtless agree. But what do they mean in practice? Yesterday, The East London Communities Organisation (Telco), the sixth member of the foundation, gathered to hammer out strategy for their first meeting with Sylvie Pearce, chief executive of the London Borough of Tower Hamlets.

Telco, an example of a new flowering of community organisations in inner- city Britain, is to be officially launched at a meeting on 20 November attended by MPs, business and religious leaders and up to 1,300 supporters with "an agenda for justice about jobs, low wages, discrimination, poverty, schools".

But if that makes it sound like any number of other socially concerned campaigning organisations, the major backing from local religious centres alongside tenants' associations and community groups brings with it a strong sense of moral mission.

Neil Jameson, the foundation's secretary, said yesterday: "Mrs Lawrence doesn't have a tool to achieve what she wants to achieve and that's really important. We believe we have the techniques."

The morality is nothing abstract. Instead, it is a strongly grass-roots effort to make the world a better place.

Mary Moylan, of St Catherine's Roman Catholic Church, Bow, and the Filipino Chaplaincy, said: "It's moral in the sense of bringing the values of humanity. When you mention the word morality, it sounds like sitting in judgement. This is nothing to do with judgement."

Jason Wu, a Buddhist working with the community in Shoreditch and Hoxton, said: "If it's morality, it's morality that's organised and broad-based. It's about relationships - relationships with the power-players."

But for Joy Coogan, of Alpha Grove Community Centre, Isle of Dogs, said the point was standards, not morality. "The community wants to improve their way of life. Morality doesn't come into it."

Paul Bunyan, a youth worker with the Citizen Organising Foundation, said meeting Ms Pearce of Tower Hamlets council was an important step towards achieving their aim of giving the people of east London a way of acting on their values and ideals. "She is a very significant person. If we're going to effect change we've got to get into a relationship with her."

The approach is a mix of working-class idealism and religious humanitarianism. If Frances Lawrence wants a practical model for bringing people together perhaps part of the answer can be found in the rawer and grittier world of Telco.

R David Muir of Mile End New Testament Church, the largest Pentecostal church in the country, expressed it quite simply. "It is people working together for the common good," he said.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Voices
An easy-peel potato; Dave Hax has come up with an ingenious method in food preparation
voicesDave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Jay Z has placed a bet on streaming being the future for music and videos
music
Arts and Entertainment
Festival-goers soak up the atmosphere at Glastonbury
music
News
Japan's population is projected to fall dramatically in the next 50 years (Wikimedia)
news
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Project Implementation Executive

£18000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...

Recruitment Genius: Chiropractic Assistant

£16500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Chiropractic Assistant is needed in a ...

Recruitment Genius: Digital Account Executive - Midlands

£18000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...

Recruitment Genius: Web Developer

£28000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company provides coaching ...

Day In a Page

NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders
Heston Blumenthal to cook up a spice odyssey for British astronaut manning the International Space Station

UK's Major Tum to blast off on a spice odyssey

Nothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
John Harrison's 'longitude' clock sets new record - 300 years on

‘Longitude’ clock sets new record - 300 years on

Greenwich horologists celebrate as it keeps to within a second of real time over a 100-day test
Fears in the US of being outgunned in the vital propaganda wars by Russia, China - and even Isis - have prompted a rethink on overseas broadcasters

Let the propaganda wars begin - again

'Accurate, objective, comprehensive': that was Voice of America's creed, but now its masters want it to promote US policy, reports Rupert Cornwell
Why Japan's incredible long-distance runners will never win the London Marathon

Japan's incredible long-distance runners

Every year, Japanese long-distance runners post some of the world's fastest times – yet, come next weekend, not a single elite competitor from the country will be at the London Marathon
Why does Tom Drury remain the greatest writer you've never heard of?

Tom Drury: The quiet American

His debut was considered one of the finest novels of the past 50 years, and he is every bit the equal of his contemporaries, Jonathan Franzen, Dave Eggers and David Foster Wallace
You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

Dave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
Beige is back: The drab car colours of the 1970s are proving popular again

Beige to the future

Flares and flounce are back on catwalks but a revival in ’70s car paintjobs was a stack-heeled step too far – until now
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's dishes highlight the delicate essence of fresh cheeses

Bill Granger cooks with fresh cheeses

More delicate on the palate, milder, fresh cheeses can also be kinder to the waistline
Aston Villa vs Liverpool: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful,' says veteran Shay Given

Shay Given: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful'

The Villa keeper has been overlooked for a long time and has unhappy memories of the national stadium – but he is savouring his chance to play at Wembley
Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own - Michael Calvin

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own