By Claire Vibert and Kate Harding, the facilitation team for the Trafford PTC
Over the last 18 months, Trafford Poverty Truth Commission has been working hard to empower the voices of local residents living in poverty, inform those whose work has an impact on people experiencing poverty, and create ideas for tackling poverty locally that are truly led by the voices of lived experience. The Commission formally came to an end on March 10th in an event held at Stretford Public Hall.
In brief, a Poverty Truth Commission brings together a group of ‘Community Commissioners’ – or local residents with lived experience of poverty – with a group of ‘Civic Commissioners’ – these are senior leaders who, through their roles, have the ability to shape policies and services that affect people living in poverty. Through a process that focuses on relationship-building and centres individuals’ experiences, the Commissioners come together as one group, with no ‘us and them’, to work collectively to develop ideas and solutions to poverty locally.
As the facilitation team, it has been our privilege to work with our Community Commissioners, who are a group of inspirational people who have courageously shared their own stories, given up their time and worked together in the hope of a better future for everyone in Trafford. And we’ve also been encouraged by the openness, willingness to learn and readiness to implement change that our Civic Commissioners have shown throughout.
At the event on March 10th, we shared our full report for the first time. We’re really proud of this piece of work that the Commissioners developed over a number of months. Our recommendations focus on four key areas:
• Improve how Trafford residents access services.
• Continue to use the voice of lived experience in the development of policy and services in Trafford.
• Make public transport truly accessible for everyone.
• Tackle mental health and isolation.
Please take a look at the report to read more about the detail below the headlines: we’ve tried to come up with practical solutions that will make a real tangible difference.
We’re thrilled that the Commission has already had some positive outcomes. From one of our Community Commissioners, Lorenza, setting up cookery classes to tackle food poverty and share her knowledge and love of home cooked, nutritious food, to Trafford Leisure engaging with our Community Commissioners to help them develop their offer and make leisure facilities accessible to all residents. In addition, our Civic Commissioners have all made a pledge and we’ll be bringing the Commissioners back together regularly to hear about the progress they’re making in their own organisations.
Everyone involved in the Commission is determined that the end result of our work isn’t to simply produce a report, but to put the ideas we’ve developed into practice. Therefore we’re really pleased that Trafford Council have shown their commitment to tackling poverty by funding work to embed the report’s recommendations. Initially this will involve setting up an expert panel of residents with lived experience of poverty, who will be able to work with, and advise teams across the council and beyond who are developing policies and services. We’ll also be developing a training offer to help those whose work impacts residents living in poverty have a better understanding of how poverty affects every aspect of someone’s life. So, watch this space!
If you’d like to know more about our work, or think your organisation could be involved, just get in touch with Claire Vibert or Kate Harding.