Thursday, 30 August 2012

THE Poverty Truth Commission website has information about the story of the Commission as well as its plans for the future. The website has just been updated to reflect the new direction our work has taken over the last few months.

The website, as well as sharing information about the Commission, also has links to media coverage, articles and reports, stories about the realities of poverty today and videos which have been made by commissioners.
Visit the website at

Tuesday, 28 August 2012

Tax Justice Bus Tour 2012

THIS Autumn Church Action on Poverty and Christian Aid are joining forces to take the campaign for Tax Justice on the road, with a 7 week Tax Justice Bus Tour. Their bright red London bus will be touring the length and breadth of Britain and Ireland, to promote the simple message: It's time for Tax Justice for the poorest communities at home and globally. In an age of austerity and spending cuts, both organisations believe that tax avoidance is morally unacceptable saying that it effectively amounts to robbing the poor - in the UK and in poor countries - of money that should be spent on education, health and welfare.

The tour will pass through Scotland at the beginning of October and will be in the Scottish Borders on 1st October, Glasgow on 2nd October, Edinburgh on 3rd October, St Andrews on 4th October and Inverness on 5th October. For more information about the tour visit the Church Action on Poverty website or facebook page.

While the bus will be in Glasgow on 2nd October we hope that some Commissioners from the Poverty Truth Commission will be aboard the bus to talk with other about the impact of spending cuts on their community.

Thursday, 23 August 2012

Commission invited to be involved in Tackling Poverty Working Group

OVER RECENT MONTHS members of the Poverty Truth Commission have been pat of Glasgow Community Planning Partnership's Tackling Poverty Working Group which is looking to develop an anti-poverty strategy for the city. Two of our Commissioners, Ghazala Hakeem and Darren McGarvey, have been a part of the group which started meeting in April. Other members have been involved in a number of smaller groups, focused on particular areas of work including Welfare Reform.

In the findings of the Poverty Truth Commission, published last year, Glasgow City Council pledged, in collaboration with other partners, 'to involved people in poverty directly in the development of community planning within the city'. In our recent 'One year On' report we asked the Council to share their experiences since the findings were published as they have sought to take on specific elements of our legacy. They commented "The Council has been seeking to broaden and deepen the involvement of people with direct experience of poverty through community membership on Local Community Planning Partnership Boards and by working with management committee members who are involved with locally funded projects. A Tackling Poverty Working Group has been established to develop an integrated strategy across the membership of the community planning partners. Meetings of the group have included people living directly with the impact of poverty through the Poverty Alliance and the Poverty Truth Commission."

The Poverty Truth Commission are very pleased to be continuing to work with Glasgow Community Planning Partnership, including Glasgow City Council through the Tackling Poverty Working Group to help them to continue to involve people in poverty directly in Community Planning in Glasgow.

Tuesday, 21 August 2012

One Year On - Hopes for the Future: Social Media

EARLIER this month we shared our hopes for the future work of the Poverty Truth Commission with people living in poverty and organisations that would like to work in a similar way to us. In our 'One year on' report we have also set out our plans for our future work using Social Media to get people's stories and voices to a wider audience. To read the report, and other reports and articles about the Poverty Truth Commission, please visit our website.
In the past the Poverty Truth Commission have used video as a way of helping people to share their stories. You can view these videos on our website.
Over the next few years the commission will develop this area of work by using Social Media to get people’s stories and voices to a wider audience. As well as this blog we also have a presence on Facebook and Youtube page. Currently we use these to share our latest news and also to share more films and audio recordings made by people involved in the Commission and we hope to develop this further. At the same time, we will continue to work with the mainstream media to ensure our stories are heard there.
Kat Watts, Administrator for the Poverty Truth Commission and the person leading on this area of work commented 'Social Media is a part of everyday life for many people in our society and is a great tool to share information about the Commission and it's way of working. It also gives us the chance to provide a place for people to share their experiences of poverty which we feel need to be heard.
One area which the Poverty Truth Commission highlighted as an important issue to be explored is the stereotyping and negative reporting by traditional media about people and communities in  poverty. Social media gives people a chance to share their experiences in their own words and in turn gives others the chance to hear of the situations which many find themselves in. These stories are full of hope, expectation and resolve to improve situations. It is only in sharing and listening to each other's stories that we will be able work together to make a lasting change in our society.'

Thursday, 16 August 2012

ATD Fourth World are 'giving people a voice'

ATD FOURTH WORLD, an organisation which has in the past worked with the Poverty Truth Commission, recently lauched a new project called 'Giving Poverty a Voice'. Through the project they will strive to support people experiencing poverty and inequality in London to engage and participate in their communities and have their say on the decisions that affect their lives.

ATD Fourth World is a human rights-based, anti-poverty organisation with more than 40 years' experience of engaging with individuals and institutions to find solutions to eradicate extreme poverty in the UK. Working in partnership with people affected by poverty, ATD Fourth World has, since 1968, concentrated its efforts on supporting families and influencing policy through work at Frimhurst Family House in Surrey and our National Centre in London.

Their aim is for Giving Poverty a Voice to empower and encourage people to stand up and be heard by using issue-based discussion forums, capacity-building workshops and examinations of the different opportunities and avenues to participate in the democratic process.

Throughout the project, they hope to build a network with grass roots and community organisations across London to strengthen the links between diverse experiences and perceptions of poverty as well as planning meetings with local and regional policy and decision makers.

The Poverty Truth Commission continues to call for the involvement of people living in poverty in shaping and delivering anti-poverty policy and challenge people who are struggling to overcome poverty to share their struggle and to come together with others to work for lasting change and look forward to seeing the development of ATD Fourth World's project in London.

Thursday, 9 August 2012

Kinship Carers meet Scottish Government special adviser on new Bill.

Kinship Carers pose with councillors
The Poverty Truth Commission yesterday hosted a second meeting between Kinship Carers from across Glasgow and Scottish Government special adviser Davie Hutchison. The group discussed the new 'Kinship Order', a distinct legal status for Kinship Care placements, which has been proposed as part of the new Children and Young People Bill.

Representatives from Glasgow Social Work, the Scottish Commission for Children and Young People and Bob Winter (Commissioner and former Lord Provost of Glasgow) also attended. The group were congratulated on their work at successfully raising the Kinship issue on the political agenda, and also recognised the strengths that come from working together with other agencies such as Social Work rather than against them. There was much interesting and useful discussion on whether new legislation is necessary to achieve adequate support for Kinship Carers, what the appropriate level of assessment for Kinship Care placements would be, how we can ensure that support services follow the child (rather than the carer) from the earliest possible stage, and what kind of financial backing will be required from Scottish Government to make adequate support by Local Authorities possible.

Overall we concluded that the jury is still out on whether primary legislation is needed, but that we are all very clear that legislation will only ever be a small part of the 'game change' necessary towards supporting Kinship Care placements.

We look forward to continuing to bring the Scottish Government together with Kinship Carers and other stakeholders to address this important issue.

Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Commissioners helping with training of Civil Servants

THE Poverty Truth Commission has been invited to lead sessions about our work for Civil Servants from the Scottish Government as part of their 'Policy Environment in Scotland' Training. Over the past year, a number of our commissioners have participated in this training, sharing their experiences of being involved in the Commission and encouraging officials to involve people affected by the policies being made in policy making processes.

Commissioner Maureen McGinn commented "We had been invited to participate because civil servants are interested in knowing about our way of working. Although this was the last slot in a long day, there was a warm welcome and lively participation in the opening exercise, designed to break down barriers and formal roles.  Carol and I spoke about our experiences as members of the PTC, answered questions and discussed ways to go beyond normal outreach and consultation processes so that people living in poverty are involved fully in developing policy solutions and their voices are heard. The invitation to be part of this training demonstrates the Scottish Government's support for the PTC. If invited to do this again, the main change Carol and I would make would be to show a short extract of the PTC opening event, so that even more commissioners can be heard."

We are very excited to have this opportunity to share our model with those from the Scottish Government and will continue to offer our story to their training programme.

Thursday, 2 August 2012

One Year On - Hopes for the future - Working with Organisations

LAST week we shared our hopes for the future work of the Poverty Truth Commission with people living in poverty. In our 'One year on' report we have also set out our plans for our future work with organisations. To read the report, and other reports and articles about the Poverty Truth Commission, please visit our website.

A major area of work which we will develop over the next year is to continue and expand our support for organisations that would like to work in a similar way to the Poverty Truth Commission.

We recognise that our involvement with organisations will vary – some wanting a lot of support whilst others might need a shorter term involvement.

Since last year's Closing Gathering in April 2011 Commission members have continued to work closely with a number organisations who pledged to carry on specific elements of our legacy work to make sure that these pledges are delivered effectively. As the Commission starts to work in a new direction we continue to work closely with some of these organisations as well as working with some new ones including: Buttle UK, Just Fair and the Scottish Government.
Miriam Rose, Researcher for the Commission and the person leading in this area of work commented "The Poverty Truth Commission has demonstrated a unique way of working together that has the potential to radically improve the situation for people in poverty. We are keen to increasingly involve the real experts on poverty in policy making at government level, designing and evaluating services at local authority level and campaigning on poverty in the third sector."