Support is available for residents facing poverty
12 October 2021An increasing number of residents who have lived with poverty are helping others to thrive and lead more prosperous lives in the last year by becoming ‘community inspirers.’
People such as Susan, a community inspirer who has overcome mental health issues and is now using her experience to help others.
Susan said: “I never thought that my experiences would make a difference to others or change things, but now I’ve helped people; I am setting up a peer support group and have helped make changes to people’s lives.”
Paul, a community inspirer who has faced issues with a low income is inspiring others to seek support like he did.
Paul said: “‘When I first started with the Poverty Truth Commission, I didn’t know where to go to or who to speak to. I was on £6.60 and found it difficult to pay the bills. They put me in contact with Work Zone who were a lifeline and they helped me out.”
Community inspirers took part in the West Cheshire Poverty Truth Commissions in 2017 and 2019 and are now represented on the Poverty Truth Advisory Board, which meets monthly to advise the borough’s leaders how to tackle poverty and to provide support services most effective in helping people in crisis.
Councillor Mandy Clare, Leader’s Champion for Poverty and Inequality, said: “Our community inspirers are influencing change as members of the Poverty Trust Advisory Board. We are empowering the people at the heart of this issue to take control and shape the way forward."
“The Poverty Truth Advisory Board recognises there is a wealth of services and support available across the borough but people don’t often know about them or how to navigate their way through systems, particularly when they are in crisis."
“This is made easier with the Live Well Cheshire West website. We encourage anyone who is experiencing poverty to visit the site, a directory of services which our inspirers helped to develop. It could offer someone life-changing support: www.livewell.cheshirewestandchester.gov.uk.”
Additional online support is also available.
For support with housing and homelessness: Shelter - Home: Shelter England or the Council website: Housing advice and homelessness (cheshirewestandchester.gov.uk)
To get advice on boosting income or finding employment: Work Zone and New Leaf -
Work Zones (cheshirewestandchester.gov.uk); New Leaf Cheshire
For health and mental health support: Mental health (cheshirewestandchester.gov.uk)
CWP Helpline Mental Health - New 24/7 mental health phone line | CWP ; Café 71 - Café 71 | Live Well Cheshire West (cheshirewestandchester.gov.uk)
To get support with education and childcare: Starting well - Home | Starting Well ; Free Childcare places for two year olds - Free childcare places for two year olds (cheshirewestandchester.gov.uk) ; KidsBank Chester - http://www.kidsbankchester.com/
If you facing hunger or food insecurity: Cheshire West and Chester Help Scheme - Help in Emergencies for Local People (HELP) (cheshirewestandchester.gov.uk) ; CAB and Foodbank - How to get help | West Cheshire Foodbank ; Welcome Network -GET SUPPORT (welcomenet.co.uk)
Councillor Louise Gittins, Leader of Cheshire West and Chester Council, said: “Cheshire West and Chester Council is committed to tackling poverty in all its forms and at its roots. A year on from the Council declaring a poverty emergency and during this Challenge Poverty Week 2021, we are celebrating the fact that more people are being supported."
“However, people continue to experience challenging financial circumstances as we come out of COVID. We want to enable our communities and residents to thrive and make positive changes for the future. We do this by listening and learning from our community inspirers so that we are providing the right support.”
If you would like to become a community inspirer please email: WestCheshire.PovertyTruth@cheshirewestandchester.gov.uk
Challenge Poverty Week is 11 October to 17 October. Sunday 17 October is the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty (UN).
Challenge Poverty Week aims to: raise voices against poverty, show what has already been done to challenge and alleviate poverty, end the stigma around poverty, build awareness of support that focuses on enhancing the dignity and agency of people in poverty.
Its theme for 2021 is ‘Community after Covid.’ Residents are encouraged to consider what needs to change for everyone in their community to be able to thrive as we emerge from the pandemic.