Westmorland and Furness Council has allocated a further £60,000 to South Lakeland Poverty Truth Commission (PTC), a project which brings together those with lived experience of living with poverty, and representatives from local business, civic and charitable organisations to create positive change.
The project, also supported by NHS Population Health and the National Lottery Fund Awards for All and hosted by Cumbria Council for Voluntary Service, aims to directly involve people with lived experience of poverty in South Lakeland in the shaping of policies and practices which impact them and their communities. The slogan of the Poverty Truth Network nationally is: ‘Nothing about us, without us, is for us’.
South Lakeland PTC was established in September 2022 and has made connections with a wide range of people, communities and organisations including local food projects, farmers networks, faith-based organisations and local health projects and health services.
Last year, a launch event was held in Windermere where key stakeholders from a range of public organisations were able to listen to and learn from the voices of lived experiences of Community Commissioners from across South Lakeland. Since then, the representatives of local organisations – or Civic Commissioners – have joined the Community Commissioners to form the full Commission. The group are drawn from all over South Lakeland, including Ambleside, Windermere, Kirkby Lonsdale, Ulverston, Grange and beyond. They will work together until the autumn looking for ways to improve services in the local area to better serve the people living on the edge in those communities.
Barrow also has a Poverty Truth Commission which was launched in June last year and options are being looked at for the Eden area.
Councillor Judith Derbyshire, Cabinet Member for Housing and Homelessness, said:
“I am delighted that the council is able to support this important piece of work. The project aims to facilitate meaningful, hopefully transformative, listening and learning between two groups of people: those who understand poverty by living it, and those who know it from a governmental, civic or statutory point of view.
“The South Lakeland PTC is at the forefront of work in England relating to rural poverty with the vast majority of UK Poverty Truth Commissions operating in larger towns and areas of urban poverty or smaller more concentrated geographic areas. So, this much needed funding will enable the PTC to complete its 2-year cycle and provide added value and impact.
“Much work and important conversations have already taken place since the PTC’s inception and I look forward to seeing and hearing about how this funding helps further the project’s ambitions.”
Lois Sparling, Cumbria CVS South Lakeland PTC Coordinator, added:
“We are so excited to know that we can now carry this important work to its completion at the end of this year and really hopeful that it will be the start of a culture change that spreads throughout our communities – about listening deeply to one another’s experiences in order to make the best decisions about services that affect all our lives.”