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New research project will help to shape poverty-related policy

The Keele Institute for Social and Inclusion (KISI) at Keele University is showcasing a new research project, supporting Cheshire West and Chester Council to build commitment to a movement to shape change in poverty-related policy.

In October 2020, the Council made a Poverty Emergency Declaration. As part of this, they committed to working more closely with universities and to providing support to the communities that have been hit the hardest by the economic fallout of the Covid-19 pandemic with community education and support to explore collective business ownership models.

By listening to people’s lived experience of poverty, the research will provide the opportunity to understand the root causes of poverty and increase the sense of ‘agency’ in how they might want to address the issue of poverty, with access to a more critical analysis of the problem.

KISI will use this understanding and the insights shared by those drafting policy to explore whether lived experience can influence policy in a more ethical, thorough, effective and empowering way and, if so, what needs to change.

Cheshire West and Chester Council were the first council to declare a Poverty Emergency and are urging other impacted councils to take action and join together.

The covid-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on low-income communities and now is the time to build a national consensus around poverty.

By calling a poverty emergency, the council is committing to tackling poverty in all its forms, responding to the challenges that the communities of Cheshire West and Chester face but also looking to the future and to how community ownership models and community wealth-building approaches can provide alternative ways of economic development that can stimulate a fairer, greener recovery.

In a statement, Cllr Clare, a lead champion for poverty and equality at Cheshire West and Chester Council, said, ‘We are looking forward to working more closely with the other councils that have already shown an interest in making this declaration, to take our response to poverty beyond the immediate and the local and to play our part in pushing for greater awareness and fundamental change nationally.’

Cheshire West and Chester Council and KISI, together with Chester University and Mondrem CIC have brought together a multidisciplinary team of sociologists, political scientists, human geographers, arts-based creative practitioners and public service improvement experts to powerfully deliver this research, to encourage a wider Poverty Truth and to help shape the Covid-19 Poverty Emergency response.

On 14 July 2021, the showcase event, powered by Wilson Sheriff production company, will bring together a diverse community to share experiences to an online audience. The event will consider the question ‘what next?’ as well as offer debate around the challenges and opportunities with the implementation of poverty emergencies.

We would like council leaders and other key figures to join us in this project and to support other groups working to find lasting solutions.

To find out more and register your interest, please contact Gemma Loomes on g.loomes@keele.ac.uk before Friday 02-July 2021.

https://www.mondrem.co.uk/mondrem/collaborations/

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