Developing our own child poverty strategy – By Sean Ridley
As groups of young people from some of the most financially deprived areas of England, we assembled together in London on the 16th February 2014, with the common goal of eradicating the challenging effects brought about by poverty within young people. Representatives from the North East, Manchester, Liverpool and Tower Hamlets have met together to create a strategy that will help alleviate the worrying matter that the number of young people living in poverty is on the increase.
Spending three days in London, we initially spent the time presenting and obtaining an understanding around the local poverty strategies of each local area. Having identified similarities and differences within such strategies, we were then able to produce a twelve-point action plan, which reflects a prioritised campaign to relieve poverty from the viewpoint of young people.
1. Improve family incomes
2. Poverty proof schools
3. Regenerate the economy to allow social mobility and eradicate poverty
4. No-one living in “failing” housing
5. Healthy lifestyles
6. Community safety and feeling safe
7. Fair transport for the young
8. More quality provision in schools
9. More free and good activities for young people
10. Make local areas better and more attractive places to live in
11. Better access and provision of housing
12. Young people having a voice in politics
From this distinct list we will be able to develop a clear and concise report, offering youth-orientated ideas that will be presented to government. On our final day in the city, we arrived at Westminster to listen to the views of a local MP around what we should do next with our strategy. From this we were able to gain new ideas around projecting our strategy onto a national theatre – with ideas around lobbying a select committee and an online petition amongst a few of the ideas to be discussed at a future meeting.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank Children North East and Rys for allowing us to contribute to creating a national, youth-led strategy on tackling child poverty.