On Wednesday 21 September, a group of young children and people will be attending Coventry City Council’s Chamber to celebrate becoming British Citizens.
In October 2021, Coventry City Council hosted the United Kingdom’s first ever Children’s Citizenship Ceremony, a landmark event that celebrated and recognised the importance of British Citizenship to children and young people from various corners of the world.
A study conducted by the University of Wolverhampton estimated that there are approximately 330,000 undocumented children and young people living in the UK and it’s believed that half of these undocumented children were born here, whilst most have been educated in the UK and speak English as their main language.
However, all lack the security provided by British citizenship or, at least, secure immigration status.
The implications of this insecurity can be profound, with the practical, social, and economic impacts reverberating in the everyday lives of children and young people.
And as children and young people begin to transition into adulthood, the risk that they may be excluded from work or higher education, or in more serious circumstances are sent to a country they’ve never lived in or visited, becomes increasingly possible.
Last year’s ceremony coincided with the arrival of Little Amal, a poignant and powerful illumination on the plight of refugees.
Becoming a British Citizen is a significant milestone and whilst there is an official ceremony for adults to mark the occasion, there isn’t one for children and young people.
This year’s ceremony also features a poem written and performed by Coventry’s young poet laureate, Hawwa Hussain, highlighting a sense of community spirit and the start of a new chapter in the lives of those newly ordained.
Coventry’s Lord Mayor, Councillor Kevin Maton, will also be in attendance, delivering a speech to welcome the newly ordained as well as presenting gifts and certificates to the children and young people to help mark the occasion.
Highlighting the importance of the ceremony, Cabinet Member for Housing and Communities, Councillor David Welsh, said:
“Last year’s ceremony was an overwhelming success celebrating and recognising our newly ordained young, British Citizens.
“Our young citizens are a vital part of our community, of our society, and it is imperative that we continue to recognise the importance of citizenship to them and their families so we can continue to build an inclusive community where we celebrate those commonalities that unite us and make us a part of this United Kingdom”.