People experiencing poverty work with city leaders to tackle key issues
Over the last 18 months, people who experience poverty in Leeds have been speaking with city leaders about the reality of living on a low income in the city.
Despite having a thriving business community, Leeds is a city of inequalities with a growing gap between rich and poor. Those living in Middleton have a life expectation of 10 years less than those living in Wetherby. Behind these statistics are the lives of real people. Leeds Poverty Truth Commission recognises this and creates a safe space for people to tell their stories and provides opportunities for those making and influencing decisions in Leeds to help to make a real difference.
Drawing upon the experience of the Scottish Poverty Truth Commission, the Leeds project completed its first commission in 2015 and has recently completed its second commission, which included participants travelling around the country, spreading the news of Leeds Poverty Truth, as well as an audience with the Pope at the Vatican in Rome.
In an event taking place on Friday 2 February 2018 at Leeds City Museum, Leeds Poverty Truth Commissioners will be sharing their stories through a creative mixed-media and experiential presentation including film, performance, presentation, props, sound, poetry and conversation.
Hosted by Christine Isaacs from the Lingfield estate and Jamie Jones-Buchanan from Leeds Rhinos, the event will also launch the Commission’s ‘Humanifesto’, which aims to deepen the understanding of the difficult entrenched issues of poverty, challenge stereotypes and motivate people to take notice and play their part in addressing poverty. Focused on three key themes – Communication, Barriers, and Community, attendees will have the opportunity to move around the room to hear from groups of Commissioners.
Mary Brennan has been involved in the project from the beginning. Having experience of poverty first-hand, Mary is one of the Commissioners. Mary, said:
“Being a Commissioner has helped me understand more about the many different challenges of poverty. It has challenged my assumptions. I’ve built good relationships with people who have the power to influence the wider city and know that together we can make a difference.”
Mark Goldstone, of the West & North Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce, Sally-Anne Greenfield, former CEO of Leeds Community Foundation, and James Rogers of Leeds City Council are some of the business, third sector and civic leaders that have been involved.
Mark Goldstone, said:
“This project has opened my eyes to how I view poverty, providing me with a genuine insight into what people actually want and need. It is a scandal that a wealthy city like Leeds has so many inhabitants who experience poverty. But we can all play a part in reducing its dehumanising effects. We invite all residents and workers in Leeds to join us in creating a fairer, stronger and happier society.”
Leeds Poverty Truth Commission is funded through Joseph Rowntree Foundation and the Big Lottery.
The event is free to attend and tickets are available from Eventbrite: