South Lakes Poverty Truth Commission: Planning for the future

South Lakes Poverty Truth Commission Coordinator, Lois Sparling, updates us on the project’s Working Groups, and how they’re starting to think ahead to what happens after this stage of the project concludes in October:


As we reach the mid-point of the year, we’re halfway through the lifespan of our Working Groups at South Lakes Poverty Truth Commission and the ideas and the energy are still flowing fast.

Facilitated by Laura and Deb from Cumbria Development Education Centre the four groups – on Community Hubs, Mental Health, Domestic Abuse & Violence and Person-Centred Services – have now honed in on some short-term practical outcomes to work towards – from social media channels to promote good practice to a range of training resources.

They’re also inviting in key people at the very top of service commissioning and policymaking in the South Lakes to hear their experiences and priorities for change – starting with the new Police Fire & Crime Commissioner, David Allen, and Gary Malone, Place Lead for Adult Mental Health in South Cumbria.

We’ve also continued to look at the themes of Veterans, Rurality, Education and Housing & Homelessness at the Full Commission meetings. Cllr Vicky Hughes, Armed Forces Champion, came in to tell us on the work the Council is doing with and for veterans in the South Lakes.

GP Heather Watson shared her work listening to the experiences of farming families exploring how better to support their mental and physical health. And in June Calum Campbell, from the Council’s Learning Development team, outlined the work councils have been doing in Cumbria on poverty-proofing schools over the past six years.

At our June Full Commission meeting we also lifted our eyes to the far horizon to start planning beyond the lifespan of the Commission in its current form – what we want to do to make sure that people with lived experience of poverty continue to be involved in all the key policy decisions and service design that impacts on their lives.

In that spirit, if you haven’t already had an invitation please ‘save the date’ as they say for our next public event – marking the transition into a new stage of poverty truth worth in the South Lakes – on Monday 14 October, between 12pm and 3pm, at the Ladyholme Centre in Windermere. Great food and great company guaranteed.