Transport is key to poverty fight
Last updated at 21:00, Thursday, 16 August 2012
Improved transport links, community food growing schemes and broader economic diversity could all help to reduce poverty in West Cumbria.
That’s the view from a series of workshops which have kick started Allerdale council’s campaign to reduce poverty in the borough, which is backed by the Times & Star.
Housing associations, education providers, charities, service providers and voluntary sector organisations came together last Thursday and Friday.
The workshops gave people working in areas linked to poverty a chance to share ideas and consider working more closely together.
In 2009 more than 25 per cent of children were living in poverty in the Ellenborough and Ewanrigg areas of Maryport, in Flimby and Workington’s Moss Bay and Moorclose area, with the figure standing at 39.6 per cent in Moss Bay.
People born and growing up in Moss Bay can expect to live nearly 20 years less than someone in Greystoke, near Penrith, with a life expectancy of 61.6 years.
Latest figures show that 23.5 per cent of households in the Allerdale council district are in fuel poverty.
Richard Quayle, the council’s policy and communications manager, said: “There’s a very limited amount we can do by ourselves as a council.
“That’s the importance for us of coming together with partners who are working on the same agenda.”
The workshops considered four topics – personal wellbeing, reduced outgoings, increasing income and immediate needs.
Reliance on public transport was considered as a potential barrier to personal wellbeing which could lead to social isolation.
It was suggested that some community centres were encouraging potentially isolated people to meet up at regular sessions.
A directory of events and services available in the community might help people to increase their activities.
Community tree planting schemes were also suggested to bring people together and provide a supply of free fruit.
Better education on budgeting and cooking was suggested to help people reduce their outgoings, while broader economic diversity and less reliance on the energy sector was mooted as a way to boost employment and increase income.
To help people in crisis it was suggested that the North Lakes Foodbank could increase its number of distribution points.
A clothes bank, where people with no money could get second-hand clothes, was also suggested.
Councillor Tim Heslop, joint chairman of Allerdale council’s scrutiny panel, said that feedback from the sessions would be put into a report and the council would look contact the relevant organisations to discuss the possibility of implementing proposed projects.
Taking part were representatives of organisations like Cumbria Action for Sustainability, Cumbria Fire and Rescue Service, Action for Children, Workington’s Trades Hall Centre, Lakes, College, CVS and West Cumbria Community Money Advice.
Coun Heslop added: “Poverty is a real issue for many people living in Allerdale and has an impact on every aspect of their lives and society as a whole.
“As the national financial crisis impacts on the council and other partners, one of the solutions available is more effective partnership working.”
l Next week, we will start a series of features focusing on areas linked to poverty. The first will look at what help is available to meet immediate needs such as homelessness and lack of food.
First published at 19:22, Thursday, 16 August 2012
Published by http://www.timesandstar.co.uk
Have your say
I stated back in 1978 that this area was being run down and needs some support to stop it. No one was listened , a duel carriageway road was promised by a Labour government before the 1980's.Industries were put off coming to the area. Now it has been so long that most of the skills have been lost in the area.
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