Can you pledge?

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More than 50 pledges have been made by people and organisations across Greater Manchester, to implement the recommended actions in the Food Poverty Action Plan. Here Mylo Kaye from the charity “Pledge” talks about action that he is taking to tackle food poverty. Can you pledge to take action on food poverty by starting to implement one or more of the actions in the Plan? Please read the Action Plan and email to tell us what you will do to make the Food Poverty Action Plan a reality.

From earth to table, how local allotment growing is feeding people in poverty

By Mylo Kaye, CEO of Pledge

On an allotment in Stretford, a group of friends led by Kal Gill-Faci are spending most weekends clearing, weeding and getting the ground ready to sow fruit and vegetables that will soon make their way to the tables of Greater Manchester people. This natural, healthy, nutritious food is helping to combat food poverty.

Pledge article for GM Poverty Action

Kal Gill-Faci delivers fresh produce to Reach out to the Community

Humphrey Park allotments are home to Pledge, a local charity helping people living in poverty. The charity, started last year is focused on ending poverty for those living across Greater Manchester.

For the past year, food grown has been harvested and donated to other local charities such as Cornerstone, The Longford Centre, Barnabus, Mustard Tree, Reach Out to the Community & The Globe Food Pantry. These partnerships are vital to the success of ‘Plot for Poverty’ and the initiative couldn’t happen without them.

Over 7,400 meals will have been delivered to hungry people across our region by the Autumn, and with the only cost being time, it’s a win-win for local people in need and the charities cooking the fresh food. Typical fruit and veg that is grown are things like Kale, Potatoes, Cauliflower, Onions and Grapes, plus many more. The food makes its way from earth to table in a matter of hours.

Local children are also actively involved in the growing. Education around food poverty amongst people who are homeless is essential, these young people are our leaders of tomorrow and we need them to get involved and make their own change.

Mylo Kaye article for GM Poverty Action

Mylo Kaye

Individuals, groups and allotments across Greater Manchester are encouraged to get involved to help end food poverty in the region, by either starting their own ‘Plot for Poverty’ or by offering time and resources to Pledge to maximise growing efforts in the run-up to the Autumn months.

We can all make a massive impact by finding intuitive ways to help people living in poverty, but we can only do this by working together.

You can see a video of the project here

 

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Launch of the Food Poverty Action Plan

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GMFPA logo

Last week GMPA launched Greater Manchester’s first ever Food Poverty Action Plan to a packed hall in Manchester. The Action Plan was the culmination of 10 months work by over 100 people and organisations, which I have had the privilege of coordinating.

With over 600,000 people, including 200,000 children, living in poverty in Greater Manchester and food bank use higher in the city region than most other parts of the country, the plan calls for action by organisations across all sectors to help prevent people falling into poverty, and to support people relying on food handouts out of poverty through advice, support and signposting.Infographic2 GMFPA for GM Poverty Action

Andy Burnham at GMFPA APL for GM Poverty Action

GM Mayor Andy Burnham

Andy Burnham, Mayor of Greater Manchester, who wrote the foreword for the Action Plan, spoke at the event and pledged that he would write to every public body in Greater Manchester, asking them to implement this plan at the local level.

To read the summary or full action plan please go to the GM Food Poverty Action Plan page

Panel at GMFPA APL for GM Poverty Action

Some of the chairs of the Food Poverty Alliance’s nine sub-groups took questions from the audience

 

 

 

 

 

Pledge 6 at GMFPA APL for GM Poverty Action

 

Among many other things, the action plan calls for:

  • A joined-up response on the ground – the provision of debt, welfare advice and other support alongside the provision of food handouts and support, so that people get the most appropriate help as quickly as possible;
  • More longer-term options for people in need of food support, such as food clubs, pantries and community grocers, to match the level of support provided for people in moments of crisis;GMFPA Inforgraphic 4 for GM Poverty Action
  • A lead for poverty to be appointed by the GM Combined Authority and each of Greater Manchester’s ten councils;
  • Schools to increase uptake of free school meals, and to work with local businesses and charities to run breakfast clubs, while supporting coordinated action on holiday hunger;
  • A campaign to increase uptake of Healthy Start Vouchers, an NHS scheme that supports parents on low incomes to buy healthy food for their young children. GMPA estimates around £3.6million worth of vouchers went unclaimed in Greater Manchester last year;GMFPA Infographic 5 for GM Poverty Action
  • Health services to expand social prescribing for healthy food-related activities such as cooking classes and food growing, and to work with charities and businesses to promote healthy food.

The full plan has more than 70 actions, including something for each organisation in every sector and every borough of Greater Manchester to do, to play their part in tackling food poverty. You can find both the summary and the full Action Plan (the more detailed full version will evolve as the plan is implemented, hence the more minimalist presentation) here, along with more information about the Food Poverty Alliance and how it has co-produced the Action Plan.

To continue coordinating the work of the Food Poverty Alliance, we also need to secure additional project funding and are asking organisations across Greater Manchester to pledge financial support to help us recruit a full-time project worker who will:

•  Drive forward the recommended actions in the Action Plan, working with partners and allies across all sectors and in all boroughs to encourage action and to provide support and advice;

•  Convene open meetings between all stakeholders who are taking action on food poverty, to encourage a joined-up response and evidence-based action;

•  Work with the food support sector (food banks, food clubs etc) to ensure provision matches people’s and
communities’ needs;

•  Ensure that food poverty action is joined up with other action on food.

A funding proposal and budget is available on request from food@gmpovertyaction.org.

Tom Skinner editorial article for GM Poverty Action

Tom Skinner, GMPA Director

With the plan launched, now we need to make it a reality, with joined-up efforts to reduce and prevent food poverty for thousands of people all across Greater Manchester. More than 50 pledges have already been made by people and organisations across Greater Manchester. Can you pledge to take action on food poverty by starting to implement one or more of the actions in the Plan? Please email food@gmpovertyaction.org

 

i3oz9sLaunch of the Food Poverty Action Plan
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Underlying Causes of Food Poverty

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Addressing the underlying causes of food poverty
By Dr Mags Adams

Dr Mags Adams is Senior Research Co-ordinator at UCLAN’s Institute of Citizenship, Society and Change. She chaired one of the sub-groups of the Greater Manchester Food Poverty Alliance, which recommended actions for the Food Poverty Action Plan to address the underlying causes of food poverty. You can read the recommended actions, all of which were included in the Action Plan, and discuss them, here.

Food insecurity in the UK is on the rise as evidenced by the increased use of food banks across the country1 and the increasing number of deaths from malnutrition  (up by more than 30% between 2007 and 20162). At a time when Greater Manchester is performing well economically in terms of job creation and private sector business growth, low pay and low skills mean many people are not benefiting from the region’s success ; median full-time wages are £50 per week lower in Greater Manchester (£494) than they are nationally (£545), and 23% of workers are paid below the voluntary Living Wage3. Universal credit was piloted in Tameside in Greater Manchester before being rolled out to Oldham and further afield. It replaced six means tested benefits with one single payment. It has been highly criticised due to effects on housing rights, evictions and homelessness4. In October 2017 it was reported that 80% of claimants in some housing associations had fallen behind with rent because of delays in receiving their payments5. This new benefit has an inbuilt six-week delay in receiving payments, allegedly to mirror being paid monthly in the workplace (However, it should be noted than many of those earning under £10,000 per annum are actually paid weekly6). In reality delays of ten and twelve weeks are not uncommon before payments are received7.

Many additional factors are also at play in determining why people experience food poverty. For example, food prices fluctuate, the UK is a net importer of food8 and the fall in the pound since the EU referendum has pushed the cost of living upwards9. Furthermore, housing prices are disproportionately higher than in other European countries.

Child poverty in Manchester is one of the highest rates by local authority area; 35.5% of children under 16 live in poverty with 69.4% of them living in workless households10. Many people living in poverty are in part-time and low paid work.

Dr Mags Adams article for GM Poverty Action

Dr Mags Adams

By addressing the underlying causes of food poverty, we can ensure that everyone in Greater Manchester is food secure and has ‘adequate access at all times to sufficient, safe, nutritious food to maintain a healthy and active life’11. Many of the problems associated with food poverty, including hunger and malnutrition, are problems caused by poverty. Addressing this will mean that households have a real living wage for a decent quality of life, that homelessness becomes a thing of the past, that children can focus on their education rather than their hunger, and that everyone has an affordable place to live.

Mags is seeking people to apply for a fully-funded PhD on the topic of “Local food systems and local economic democracy: a framework for delivering food security?” Full details here

1 Bulman, M. (2018, 24 April). Food bank use in UK reaches highest rate on record as benefits fail to cover basic costs. Independent. Available here

2 British Specialist Nutrition Association (2018). Forgotten not Fixed: A Blueprint to Tackle  the Increasing Burden of Malnutrition in England. Available here

3 Joseph Rowntree Foundation (2017). 100-day countdown: Greater Manchester mayor must get to grips with region’s in-work poverty problem.  Available here

4 Greater Manchester Law Centre (2017). “We demand: no evictions as a result of Universal Credit delays” says GMLC, Disabled People Against the Cuts, Acorn tenants’ union and others. Available here

5 Williams, J. (2017, 19 Oct). Families are ‘being made homeless’ by Universal Credit – but its rollout will continue. Available here

6 Institute for Government (2017). The problems with Universal Credit. Available here

7 See Institute for Government (2017) above.

8 Gov.UK (2017). Food Statistics in your pocket 2017 – Global and UK supply. Available here

9 Jackson, G. (2017, 14 Nov). UK food prices rise at fastest rate in four years. Financial Times. Available here

10 Manchester City Council (2017). Manchester City Council Report for Resolution Manchester Family Poverty Strategy 2017-2022. Available here

11 World Food Programme (2018). What is food security? Available here

 

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From Poverty to Prosperity for all

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A one day Conference on April 2nd, 2019

This is a joint event organised by the Inclusive Growth Analysis Unit at the University of Manchester and GMPA.

Greater Manchester can tell an impressive ‘growth story’, but poverty continues to exist across the city-region and on a large-scale. More than 600,000 people are living on low incomes, with child poverty rates of over 40% in parts of the city-region. Meanwhile a growing share of people are in in-work poverty and welfare reforms and a freeze on working-age benefits have taken £100s if not £1,000s out of the pockets of the poorest families.

How can local areas respond to these challenges? This conference will examine whether it is possible to do more to tackle poverty at local- and city-region level, with a particular focus on Greater Manchester.

Nationally, the Government has scrapped targets to reduce child poverty and the requirement for local authorities to develop child poverty strategies. In the context of city-region devolution, and a growing emphasis on cities as the engines of economic growth, is a commitment to a more inclusive approach to economic development, part of the answer? What new examples and ideas can we draw on to shape action at a local level: to design and promote better jobs; tackle living costs; and help people to gain additional skills and build routes out of poverty?

Confirmed speakers and panel guests include:

KEYNOTES AND PANEL GUESTS

Katie Schmuecker, Head of Policy and Partnerships, Joseph Rowntree Foundation

Uzma Kahn, Deputy Director, Economic Strategy, Scottish Government

Rita Evans, Leading GM Programme Director

Mike Wild, Chief Executive, Manchester Community Central

THEMED SESSIONS

Supporting parental employment, an “infrastructure” approach with Eve Holt, Co-founder, Happen Together CIC (chair), Imandeep Kaur, Birmingham Impact HUB

Tackling living costs for low income residents: Emma Stone, The Good Things Foundation (chair), Andy Davis, Salary Finance, and Paul Colligan, End Furniture Poverty

An anti-poverty approach to adult skills: speakers to be announced

Equitable business models as a means of tackling poverty: speakers to be announced

This timely conference will bring together people with expertise in economic development, skills, public service reform, procurement, social housing, welfare and debt advice services, crisis and family support services as well as those with experience of poverty to share ideas and learn from practical initiatives that have been trialled elsewhere. The day will end with a panel discussion to identify the next steps we can take to tackle poverty in Greater Manchester.

The conference is being held at the Mechanics Institute in the centre of Manchester. Please book your place here.

This conference builds on the local poverty strategies event GMPA held at Kellogg’s in October 2018.

University of Manchester, GMPA and JRF logos for GM Poverty Action

i3oz9sFrom Poverty to Prosperity for all
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Prosperity and poverty

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by Graham Whitham

Increasingly it feels like Greater Manchester is moving slowly but surely towards a much stronger and clearer agenda on poverty. Andy Burnham’s work on homelessness, the development of local anti-poverty strategies by some of our local authorities (some of which are detailed here), the interest in Poverty Truth Commissions across the city region and the work of GMPA’s Food Poverty Alliance are all signs of a determination to tackle the issue of poverty through partnership working and in a sustainable and strategic way.

A good next step would be embedding tackling poverty and raising living standards within the city region’s economic agenda, recognising the negative impact poverty has on the economy of Greater Manchester through lost human potential and reduced productivity and the need for increased spending on public services.

That’s why it was good to see a strong focus on raising living standards and addressing inequalities in the Independent Greater Manchester Prosperity Review, launched last week. The Review was commissioned by the Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA). It updates the Manchester Independent Economic Review (MIER) published ten years ago.

The Prosperity Review recognises that whilst there has been strong growth in highly skilled areas such as the digital sector, the city region is also home to a lot of jobs that are low paid and offer poor terms and conditions. The growth in ‘poor quality jobs’ has exacerbated existing inequalities within Greater Manchester and left the city region’s living standards lagging behind those of London and the South East.

It has become increasingly accepted that we need to ensure economic activity benefits the lives of everyday citizens. Concentrating on high growth sectors of the economy risks ignoring large swathes of Greater Manchester’s economy, and we can’t expect living standards to rise if we have a two-tier economy – one offering well paid, secure jobs in highly skilled sectors, and the other offering poor quality jobs with limited opportunities for progression in traditionally low paying sectors such as care and retail. Harnessing the role of technology in these sectors should help boost productivity and link them more closely to the ever-expanding digital economy. The challenge will be ensuring workers across the city region benefit from this. We need to develop new ways of measuring that this is happening so that we can better understand whether the ‘economic story’ of Greater Manchester is translating into positive outcomes for its residents.

Graham W UK poverty strategy article for GM Poverty Action

Graham Whitham, GMPA Director

The Prosperity Review will sit alongside the Greater Manchester Industrial Strategy. The Mayor has also been working on a Good Employment Charter aimed at encouraging wider take-up of positive employment practices among employers. More details will be announced later this year. Work on these different elements presents an opportunity to set out an economic programme for the city region that focuses clearly on outcomes for residents. As other approaches set out a stronger agenda on poverty, we need to think about how we link the two so that tackling poverty is part of how we develop and grow the Greater Manchester Economy.

 

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Mental Health & UC

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Investigating Claimant Experiences
By Joe Pardoe, PhD Student at the University of Salford

Research has shown that recent changes to the benefits system, especially the roll-out of Universal Credit, have profoundly impacted the UK’s poorest communities. This has been found to partly account for the massive increase in national rates of poverty, particularly child poverty. The link between poverty and health has long been established; a region with a high rate of poverty tends to correspond with a lower standard of general health and mental health.

My study is interested in how people who live within an area with a relatively high rate of poverty, such as Greater Manchester, may experience changes to their mental health throughout their engagement with the benefits system and receipt of Universal Credit. Claimants who are vulnerable to mental health related issues and mental health conditions, such as those who receive additional disability benefits like PIP, often see their need for support intensified throughout the process of engagement with the benefits system. What is less well known is, how those without pre-existing mental health conditions may experience changes to their mental health throughout the process of claiming.

Prior research has identified various aspects of claiming that may impact upon mental health, such as being subject to the Work Capability Assessment and having to deal with the rigors of meeting conditionality measures to avoid being sanctioned. However, while I am interested to talk about these kinds of issues, I am particularly keen to allow individuals themselves to identify what aspects of claiming Universal Credit may have affected changes to their mental health.

I aim to interview 30 people who have reported changes to their mental health throughout the process of claiming; this may include those with pre-existing mental health conditions, or those who have mentioned experiencing mental health related issues since starting to claim. I am interested to hear from anybody who lives within Greater Manchester and is open to discuss this topic by drawing upon their personal experiences.

The study will explore perceived changes to mental health at various stages of claiming Universal Credit, with a specific focus on:

•  The financial impact

•  What aspects of claiming Universal Credit may be seen as helping, or being unhelpful, to sustaining a
good standard of mental health

•  Possible issues around meeting conditionality measures, including in-work

•  How people claiming Universal Credit may feel they are seen by others; both their friends and family, and
by wider society

Joe Pardoe PhD student article for GM Poverty Action

Joe Pardoe

In order to support this study, I would be very grateful to hear from anybody whose job involves providing some kind of support to people who receive Universal Credit and have experienced changes to their mental health and may be open to being interviewed to discuss their experiences. If you are able to support my research or would like to find out more, please contact me via email

 

Joe is studying for his PhD within the School of Health and Society at the University of Salford , he is associated with the Sustainable Housing and Urban Studies Unit and supporting the Salford Anti-Poverty Task Force. He gained a 1st Class honours degree in Psychology at the University of Bradford.

 

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The poverty issue 23

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These are just snippets – there’s much more going on and the full articles are available here

Motiv8 is a GM programme to help unemployed people aged 25 and over, supporting some of the most disadvantaged and vulnerable people overcome a wide variety of complex issues and barriers to improve their lives and chances of getting back into work. New Charter Homes is leading the Motiv8 programme with support from other Manchester Athena housing providers at Stockport Homes, ForViva, Wythenshawe Community Housing Group and Bolton at Home.

Bolton at Home have two projects under Ambition for Ageing: Working Potential is aimed at carers aged 50+ who want to explore employment or training opportunities and their Social Eating project aims to reduce social isolation by bringing people together using food. Withins Action Group, known as WAG, aim to improve their local area and create opportunities for the local residents and one of the outcomes has been a Community Café with a ‘Snack and Chat’ drop in session.

After asking children to describe what home meant to them First Choice Homes Oldham discovered that it was all about a feeling. Since then they have worked with young people in the Clarksfield and Greenacres neighbourhoods focussing on the concept of place and identity. The project aimed to address their sense of safety and security when using public spaces and to look at how their own behaviour in these places could make other people feel.

ForViva, working in partnership with Salford Council Integrated Youth Services & Fighting Fit Kids ran a pilot programme aimed at helping young women aged between 11 and 16 to raise their aspirations, specifically aiming to develop a greater sense of emotional and physical wellbeing whilst gaining self confidence and self-esteem. Sessions included self-defence, body image, relationships with food including nutrition and cooking, the impact of social media, mental wellbeing, internet safety, relationships and domestic abuse.

Not everyone has the knowledge, or the provisions to make their house energy efficient. One Manchester’s Asset
Management and One Money teams partnered with LEAP to offer residents free energy and money saving services through a series of road shows. This allowed them to help people to understand switching their energy provider, smart meters and how to get the most out of their heating system. By the end of January 2019, they had actively engaged with 116 people.

Regenda Homes’ Oasis Community Kitchen Project is where volunteers create meals for the community using food collected from supermarkets that would otherwise be wasted. Planning and preparing meals and activities for half term, saw over 100 families attending up to 4 times a week for activities, films and food. Meals are prepared and served by the volunteers in a family dining experience. Media such as phones and iPads were banned during the meals to encourage conversation.

More than £90,000 has been ploughed into community projects and good causes in Salford during the past year thanks to Salix Homes Springboard fund. The community grant programme enables Salford-based organisations or initiatives to bid for funding to help support projects that boost community spirit, improve the environment, reduce isolation and promote health and wellbeing. During the past 12 months, recipients have included dance troupes, grassroots football teams, bowlers, computer clubs and community gardening projects.

Six Town Housing’s Chesham Fold Tenant and Residents Association’s Baby Bank is providing parents in poverty with
equipment including cots, pushchairs, toys and baby baths as well as disposable items such as nappies and baby shampoo. Clothes are also available for children up to the age of five. Items are provided on a referral basis, with partnerships set up with local midwives and health workers. The Association also run a weekly youth club for children aged 5 to 16, a foodbank and the ‘Friends of Gypsy Brook’.

Continuing to promote South Manchester Credit Union, Southway Housing Trust deliver an affordable loan scheme ‘Southway Solutions’, now in its 5th year with over 900 tenants having borrowed.  Southway also launched ‘Right Track UC’ loans in January issuing its first loan to reduce the hardship suffered by those having to wait for their first Universal Credit payment. The loan is available to those who haven’t had an advanced payment from DWP and are being supported by Southway’s Advice Services Team.

Every year, Stockport Homes’ Winter Welfare visits to around 500 older and more vulnerable customers enables staff to provide advice and assistance on keeping warm, eating well, checking vaccinations are up to date and making referrals for equipment and adaptations. They are also working in partnership with Stockport Council, Good Things Foundation and local partners as part of the #digiknow network, to create a web of digital skills support centres, making it easier for residents to find help in their local community.

A Christmas food appeal co-ordinated by Wythenshawe Community Housing Group with an army of volunteers to make sure that the most vulnerable people in the community had enough food for Christmas, provided 144 hampers with enough food to feed 425 people, including 243 children. Also following the roll out of Universal Credit, they have been supporting vulnerable and digitally excluded people who require face to face help with their on-line application.

 

i3oz9sThe poverty issue 23
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Campaign for Better Transport

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By Darren Shirley, Chief Executive of Campaign for Better Transport

Imagine not having any transport. No car, no affordable train service and no buses. How do you get to work, or to college or to medical appointments? For many people on low incomes this is all too common a reality.

According to the Office of National Statistics, households spend an average of £79.70 a week on transport, making transport the biggest household expense. For people on low incomes, the cost of transport is just one more expense that must be at best juggled, or at worst sacrificed. Whilst there is no official definition of transport poverty, or any agreed figures on the number of people affected, it is a problem more and more people and organisations are being to recognise.

Transport poverty is not simply a question of being able to own a car, combinations of poor transport provision, high fares and car-based housing and other developments, all contribute to creating social isolation and poverty. Nor is this just an issue for those without cars; those with access to cars find that they are forced to use their cars more than they want to, or more than they can afford to.

Lack of transport options impacts on people’s health and wellbeing, as well as their education and employment opportunities. A recent Joseph Rowntree Foundation report looked at the transport issues facing out-of-work residents in six low-income neighbourhoods, including Harpurhey in Manchester. It found that ‘transport is a significant barrier to employment for many residents living in low-income neighbourhoods’ and ‘public transport is often seen as something which constrains, rather than enables a return to work’.

Last year we published our seventh annual Buses in Crisis report. It showed local authority supported services are at crisis point, with £172 million cut from bus budgets in England since 2010/11. Local authority bus spend in the North West region dropped more than a fifth (21.54 %) in eight years, with 77 bus services altered, reduced or withdrawn in the last year alone. The loss of a bus service can have a devastating impact on both individuals and whole communities, especially those on low incomes who are already disadvantaged.

Buses connect people to jobs, health services, education establishments and shopping and leisure facilities, not to mention enabling people to visit friends and family. When a bus service disappears, so does a person’s and a community’s only link to the outside world.

That’s why Campaign for Better Transport wants to see a national investment strategy for buses, like already exists for rail and roads, to ensure buses remain part of the public transport mix.

We also need to make sure public transport remains affordable. Bus fares are rising far higher than that of any other public transport mode, and far higher than the cost of car ownership. Even rail fares, which are rising less than bus fares but still higher than the Consumer Price Index (CPI) which is the official inflation figure used to calculate things like benefit increases, are an increasing unmanageable burden on people’s pockets.

Darren Shirley, CEO Campaign for Better Transport

Darren Shirley, Chief Executive of Campaign for Better Transport

One way the Government could help is to introduce a season ticket for part-time workers. Currently a season ticket offers a discount if used to travel for five days a week. If you work part time, or on a zero hours contract, or work part of the week from home because you have caring responsibilities, you must either choose to buy a season ticket and lose money on the days you don’t travel, or buy more expensive individual single or return tickets. We want to see more flexible ticket options which reflect modern working practices and don’t disadvantage people commuting less than five days a week.

Even people who do need to commute five days a week can find the cost of an annual season ticket too much to pay out in one go, meaning they are unable to take advantage of the discount offered by buying your year’s travel up front. Some employers offer season ticket loans which allow people to borrow the money for their annual ticket and pay it back in smaller amounts from their wages over the course of the year.

So far these type of schemes generally only apply to rail season tickets, but we’d like to see this extended to cover bus tickets as well. Low income families are more dependent than others on bus travel and the cheaper fare deals which involve paying larger lump sums are often unavailable to them.

Transport poverty, like other forms of poverty, does not just impact on the individual or their immediate family; it has far reaching consequences that affect whole communities, even whole regions of the country. Ultimately there is also
a national economic impact which should, if nothing else, spur the Government on to tackle the issue.

 

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Holiday Hunger

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A Snapshot of Activities and Food Provision in Greater Manchester

Children and young people who rely on school meals during term time, often struggle to be well fed during school holidays. If there is not enough food at home, hunger can be especially acute at these times, which can be socially isolating and detrimental to physical and mental health.

This is a growing concern – 59% of respondents to a National Education Union survey said that children in their school experienced holiday hunger. Of these, 51% said in 2018 that the situation has got worse in the last three years.

While the long-term solutions to food poverty lie in increasing incomes and making good food affordable and accessible for everyone, this is a crisis that must be addressed now. I can give you a preview of a relevant section of our Food Poverty Action Plan that will be launched on Monday March 4th (please book your place here if you haven’t already). Along with many recommendations and actions to address the underlying causes of food poverty, the Action Plan recommends that leaders and systems across Greater Manchester should work together to:

  • Develop and implement a Greater Manchester-wide framework for the provision of healthy and sustainable meals for children and young people, during both term times and holidays, with reference to the school food standard
  • All 10 boroughs to support and coordinate holiday provision with food. Coordinate a Greater Manchester approach to access to food during the summer holidays, encouraging schools to improve access to facilities and kitchens. e.g.◦ Coordinate bids for funding from the Department for Education◦  Develop a toolkit for holiday provision with food, including how to navigate safeguarding issues that may arise◦  Sharing and replicating approaches and models such as Holiday Hunger in Wigan◦  Holiday Kitchen type clubs with food focused activities, working with partners to make best use of Children’s Centres where facilities are available

The government has shown some signs that it may be willing to take responsibility for the issue, with the Department for Education commissioning some pilot projects this year. Specifically there is a total of £9m available for “testing the coordination of free holiday provision (including healthy food and enriching activities) for disadvantaged children during the 2019 summer holidays in up to 9 upper-tier local authorities. The aims of this grant programme are to develop a more efficient and joined-up approach to free holiday provision for disadvantaged children; and to ensure there is enough good quality free holiday provision to meet the demand from children eligible for free school meals (FSM) in the local authority during the 2019 summer holidays.” The bidding process closes on February 7th.

GMPA are encouraging and offering to support bids from across Greater Manchester. To that end, today we publish analysis of a survey that we ran along with Greater Together Manchester last year to get a snapshot of some of the provision during school holidays across Greater Manchester – please download that analysis here, and use it to inform your preparation and activities with children and young people during school holidays.

Good practice suggests that in order to reduce the stigma associated with projects that aims to reduce food poverty, any project or service should be focused on the provision of activities that are accompanied by food, and that the project or service should be open to anyone.

We asked the respondents whether they provided activities in addition to food and 19 of the respondents said that they did. When asked for further details, they cited a number of different activities as shown below:

Holiday Hunger graphic for GM Poverty Action

An excerpt from the survey analysis

Tom Skinner editorial article for GM Poverty Action

Tom Skinner, GMPA Director

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

i3oz9sHoliday Hunger
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Real Change Rochdale

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New campaign to tackle homelessness launches in Rochdale Borough
by the Sanctuary Trust

Earlier this month, Sanctuary Trust launched a new campaign in Rochdale giving people the chance to donate towards a fund which buys practical items for people who are homeless – things like a deposit for a home, enrolment on a training course or new clothes for a job interview.

The campaign involves many local partners who will access the fund, and the Sanctuary Trust’s Pass It On scheme are proud to be leading it. Pass It On provides training and development opportunities for people who’ve experienced homelessness or related issues, so they know first-hand what it takes to make that ‘real change’ to our lives. With Real Change Rochdale, they are now providing the things to help others do the same.

Real change Rochdale for GM Poverty Action
Real Change is an ‘alternative giving’ model, offering members of the public who are worried about homelessness a way to give other than in the streets. By doing so their money can go further by joining with other people’s donations to buy bigger items, as well as the long-term support provided by charities and voluntary groups. That’s what has been seen from the campaign in Wigan & Leigh which started last year, as well as the long-running Big Change MCR initiative.

The aim of the fund is to help overcome the poverty gap which GMPA has persuasively demonstrated. Too often, the hard work that people who are homeless (and those supporting them) put in to change their lives falls flat for want of a small amount of money. This flexible funding pot gets this to them as quickly as possible so that no one needs be homeless or beg in the streets.

To provide these grants they need to fundraise, though! They had raised nearly £1500 before they even launched – with the help of partners such as Rochdale Sixth Form College who won our ‘Real Change Champions’ trophy for their efforts – but they will need more than that to keep going. Over the coming weeks they will be out talking to local people, businesses, faith groups, community groups and more, and if you would like to help you can:

•  Donate through the BigGive

•  Share the Campaign on your social media pages

•  Invite Real Change to your workplace, event or community group

•  Do your own fundraising for Real Change

More info is on their website. Individually, everyone can all do a bit, and together we can make a Real Change!

John Wigley, Brian Duffy, Mike O’Day & Tony McManus (Real Change Co-Chairs, Sanctuary Trust Pass It On scheme)

 

i3oz9sReal Change Rochdale
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