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Agenda item

Group Discussion: Without Walls Anti Poverty Strategy

At this point, the meeting will break into small groups for discussion on key aspects of the Without Walls Anti Poverty Strategy to enable a response to be made to the Inclusive York Forum.

Minutes:

At this point, the meeting broke into small groups for discussion on key aspects of the Without Walls Anti-Poverty Strategy to enable a response to be made to the Inclusive York Forum.

 

Group feedback on the Anti-poverty Strategy and what the council can do to support the key areas for actions.

 

Group A – Maximise incomes of individuals in poverty

 

1. Benefits Take up

·         Council has regular benefits campaigns

·         Councillors discuss benefit take -up issues at surgeries and when they work out in the community

·         Council offer financial support to bodies which offer benefits take up advice and advocacy

 

2. Education and Training

·         "Worklessness ethos" / the value of employment/ the poverty trap should be explored within school citizenship curriculum

 

3. Employment

·         Targeted Council job fairs in city areas of economic and social deprivation

·         Better support for people coming off benefits in preparing them to find and keep a job

·         When Council employs people who come off benefit pay them weekly not monthly so as to help them maintain a sustainable cash flow

·         Look at how and where Council advertises for jobs. Think about advertising in "specialist" press such as BME and newspapers and newsletters, disability group’s publications, etc.

·         Consider changing the accessibility of our current jobs bulleting like the size of the font on the internet

 

4. Minimise barriers

·         Council should do more to help people on the fringe of poverty to find and keep jobs, before their position becomes critical.

·         Look at providing more affordable housing for workers on low income or people on benefit. Stop selling existing Council houses/flat. Build new ones.

 

Group B – Minimise the cost of living in York and increase take up of available services

 

  • Develop innovative approaches to tackle issues like unaffordability of affordable housing – esp. for older people, people from BME communities
  • Increase supply of affordable housing
  • Prioritise investment in schemes which support inclusion e.g. transport schemes
  • Develop targeted initiatives to facilitate take-up by excluded groups – to address “downward spiral”
  • Promote and target financial literacy (for example budgeting, use of credit) for excluded communities – credit union, in particular, needs to be promoted and supported to help this
  • Citizenship in schools should be focussed around this agenda
  • Proactive initiatives to support people in tackling fuel poverty
  • Consider ways in which key services (which may be inaccessible for some) can be integrated into other Council service delivery streams (for example, dentistry through children’s centres)

 

 

Group C – Improve partnership working and organisational responses to poverty.

 

  • Make links to community events such as the Older People’s Assembly information fair held twice a year to publicise legal and debt advice.
  • Focus information and advice to very specific low-income areas of the city – this can be specific streets.
  • Lots of information and advice is available on-line or via leaflets/ brochures, but not everyone has computer access or can read.  Information also needs to be available verbally via advice centres, phone and in local places people visit e.g. doctor’s surgeries/health clinics, libraries, post offices.
  • Training courses on managing a budget or getting out of debt.  Link to Future Prospects.
  • Fund outreach work to isolated communities e.g. some Ward Committees give funding for a Age Concern worker to visit local older people, other Ward Committees are not sure what the need is.

 

The overall messages from the group were that the City of York Council can play a key role in this work but that they cannot do it in isolation and that partners and other groups need to take responsibility too. 1.

Supporting documents:

 

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