New programme aims to enable the voices of people living in poverty in South Lakes to be heard

South Lakeland District Council (SLDC) have confirmed Cumbria CVS as the host for a new Poverty Truth Commission (PTC).

The PTC aims to enable the voice and experiences of those living in poverty to be directly heard at decision making levels, bringing about co-produced change for the better for them.

The South Lakes Poverty Truth Commission Support Group have agreed to us running the programme, which will receive financial support for two years from SLDC and Morecambe Bay Clinical Commissioning Group.

David Allen, Chief Executive of Cumbria CVS, said:

“I’m really pleased we can support this important initiative for the people of South Lakeland. As we have seen from the pandemic, poverty comes in many forms and can affect any one of us. It is critical we all learn directly from the voices of those most affected by poverty and then respond accordingly – in how we develop and deliver services, engage with communities and support individuals. I am keen that we seek out those voices and help find ways for them to tell their stories to greatest effect”.

Suzie Pye, SLDC Councillor, and Portfolio Holder for Health & Wellbeing, and Poverty Alleviation said:

“I’m thrilled that Cumbria CVS has agreed to be the host organisation of a new South Lakeland Poverty Truth Commission.

The PTC will change perceptions of poverty in South Lakeland by promoting meaningful conversation and relationships between people experiencing poverty and people who control the resources and services that help alleviate poverty. SLDC and our wider partners are looking forward to working with Cumbria CVS in the development of the commission which will make real changes for those living in financial hardship”.

Ali Greenhalgh, Cumbria CVS’s District Manager (South), who will lead our involvement, said:

“A PTC is a response to poverty led by those directly affected by poverty. It’s about moving from denial that poverty exists to an informed response to poverty in our area.

Our work with vulnerable people and those experiencing poverty, economic, social or health inequalities means we understand that South Lakeland can be a very challenging place to live. With small pockets of deprived and geographically dispersed populations, rural isolation, and many other factors the challenge is a big one, but we’re looking forward to helping to make a real difference.”

Two new members of staff will be employed to support the programme.