West Cheshire Poverty Truth
It all starts with a question
What if people living in poverty could help shape the way our borough’s leaders make decisions surrounding the support services in place?
Would it make a difference to the decisions that are being made?
Would it strengthen relationships, change attitudes and create solutions to some of the difficult questions poverty creates?
Following on from the success of the very first Poverty Truth Commission in Glasgow, Scotland, a number of community, voluntary, faith and public sector organisations came together to support the setup of a commission here in West Cheshire.
With the aim of tackling and eradicating the root causes of poverty, the commission differs from the norm in that it ensures that people with first-hand experience are at the heart of how the borough thinks and acts in tackling poverty and inequality.
So what is the West Cheshire Poverty Truth Commission?
The West Cheshire Poverty Truth Commission aims to give a face to the facts. By creating safe spaces for people with lived experience of poverty, know as Community Inspirers to share their stories and opportunities for those making and influencing decisions to listen. The project will deepen understanding of the emotive and difficult sides of poverty, improve perceptions, challenge stereotyping, and lead to better decision-making by the borough’s leaders across business, public and voluntary sectors.
The launch event in February 2017 enabled the Community Inspirers to share their stories with an audience of civic, business, voluntary and faith leaders and key decision makers who are best suited to identify and implement the necessary changes. Following on from the well-attended event, the Commission has built relationships and shared stories and experiences. From the 15 emerging themes identified from the group, the following three themes are highlighted as the key priorities moving forward:
- Mental health – the impact poverty has on an individual’s mental health and vice versa.
- Person centred approach – how do experiences make people feel and what effect do these experiences have on their dignity?
- Benefit systems – supporting people to navigate current systems and as and when they change in the future e.g. Introduction of Universal Credit.
The Commission is currently working together to develop an action plan on these priorities and the outcomes, recommendations and successes of the first West Cheshire Poverty Truth Commission will be celebrated at an event on Wednesday 28 February 2018 at Chester Racecourse.
Join the PTC (Poverty Truth Commission) Pledge
Through listening to the Community Inspirers, many had negative customer service experiences to share, when accessing Benefit systems and support services. The lack of empathy and respect for people accessing these services had a negative effect on people’s mental health and wellbeing. At times they had felt humiliated, powerless, afraid, lonely, worthless, unvalued as a member of society and in some cases; suicidal. This is unacceptable.
Treating people better, despite their situation in life, can only lead to better outcomes for us all – a healthy sense of wellbeing can foster all kinds of progress.
We have worked collaboratively to address this issue by creating the PTC Pledge. It is an idea, which if all agencies fully embrace and engage will have a hugely positive impact on the mental health of people in vulnerable situations.
It promotes decent, honest and respectful treatment of all people, and encourages the development of positive relationships rather than transactional processes. The aim is that by signing up to this, organisations and the people within them become more self-aware, and are accountable for their behaviour. To sign up or find out more:
What we want to achieve
- Ensure those affected by poverty feel they are more able to take control of their situations
- Locally prioritise children and families and single men
- Ensure their voices, including the voice of the child, are heard
- Identify the key symptoms and causes of poverty within West Cheshire
- Influence and affect significant change at individual, organisational and policy level
- Facilitate change across the borough to alleviate poverty
- Create a framework to ensure that change in how decisions are made is permanent
Get in touch
Help us tackle poverty for future generations by getting involved with West Cheshire Poverty Truth.
You need to inspire to make change