Thursday, 15 November 2012

Commissioners share their experiences of the Poverty Truth Commission with the Scottish Leaders Forum

It was heartening that the Scottish Leaders Forum decided to devote one of its conferences to "Supporting resilient communities" and the Poverty Truth Commission were very happy to be invited to be a part of the event.  The audience comprised of chief executives from local government, top civil servants and leaders of major charities and government agencies.  Over two workshops we addressed some 50 delegates stimulating lively discussion at each session.

Commissioner Anne Marie Peffer, from Buttle UK, spoke with great panache and humour introducing the work of of the Poverty Truth Commission, highlighting achievements and future challenges in work with the media, reducing crime, kinship care and empowering people in poverty to get into direct discussion with politicians, top officials and policy makers. Fellow commissioner Jean Forrester moved the workshops with her personal account of being a kinship carer and the work she is doing to obtain proper recognition for the job they do. Another commissioner, Ghazala Hakeem, spoke about her work on behalf of the Commission, how it had developed her confidence all round and especially in her ability to influence change. Finally commissioner Bob Winter, former Lord Provost of Glasgow City Council, wound up by linking what had been said to the wider subject of the conference. Bob commented "It was clear from questions discussion and comments after the workshop that we had made a considerable impact." 
About her experiences of being a part of the event Anne Marie commented "it was a real pleasure to work with colleagues Bob, Ghazala and Jean again.  On this occasion quite a few of the audience had actually heard of the Poverty Truth Commission, but had not experienced the powerful presentations such as those made by Jean and Ghazala. Once again, the "truth" about poverty made a big impact and people were clearly moved.  Discussion was to the point and constructive.  I am always surprised at the number of service providers who have never considered involving service users in the planning of those services and was glad to note that a number of those present will now be reconsidering their strategy."

Ghazala commented "The Scottish Leaders Forum was an exciting and inspiring event for both the PTC commissioners and the attending delegates. The delegates were interested and positive about our presentation. Many approached us at the end to invite us to their respective organisation to speak to their staff. It is crucial for those who are experiencing poverty to be acknowledged and hears. As Nothing About Us, Without Us, Is For Us."

The workshops led by our commissioners had great feedback and in a letter of thanks Sir Peter Housden, Permanent Secretary of the Scottish Government, commented "Your workshop in particular was commended for the speakers’ amazingly powerful presentations. You completely captured the reality of community empowerment and co-production with lessons on how to engage those communities and get the best from people who already want to be the solution as well as from those who may previously have felt they had nothing to give."

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