What we’re up to…..

We’ve added some new information on the About Us page of this blog which provides a bit more detail on the range of projects that the North East Child Poverty Commission is involved with in the region.

The Commission first met on 8th June 2011 and since then we’ve been involved with a variety of different pieces of work including helping local authorities prepare their Child Poverty Needs Assessments and Strategies, supporting Children North East with their photography project and conference, working with a local councillor to prepare a report on child poverty for the EU Committee of the Regions and securing funding to continue the project beyond March 2012.

Currently, and despite the resources available to the Commission being reduced from last year, we are still involved with numerous different projects that we hope will help to improve the lives of children in the North East and help to end child poverty in the region. Below are some of these projects:

Working for North East Families – Around 60% of children growing up in poverty live in a household where at least one adult works. Work does not always offer a route out of poverty and, when it does, it is often on an insecure and precarious basis. Employment practices and ‘Terms and Conditions’ can all have a bearing on whether or not wrok really does offer a genuine, lasting route out of poverty. Together with partners, the Commission is developing a 3 year project looking to engage with employers in the region to make them aware of the role that they can play in ending child poverty as well as the benefits that it can bring to them, both in the short term and the long term. For more information on this project, please visit the Working for North East families page on this blog.

Poverty proofing the school day – Children North East are working with the Commission to develop a toolkit to help schools to ‘poverty proof’ the school day, from a child’s perspective. This work will include working with children, staff and governors from four schools in the North East to explore how policy and practice within these schools can inadvertently add to the marginalisation and stigmatisation of children living in poverty. This work has developed as a result of the Children North East photography project and exhibition last year and is funded by the Policy and Representation Partnership at VONNE. A copy of the project proposal can be found here

Child Poverty and Education – the Commission are developing a training session for school governors in the region on the links between child poverty and educational attainment and how the Pupil Premium and other resources might be used to help raise the attainment of children living in poverty. This work has developed following discussions with teachers and child poverty leads and governor services within local authorities. Nine authorities in the North East are taking part in the pilot programme.

Regional Seminar Series – the Commission organises and hosts seminars on topics related to child poverty on a regular basis. The aim of these events is to share research findings with policy makers and practitioners in the region. Topics explored so far have included low income families use of brands, maternal deprivation, potential uses of the Pupil Premium and how government discovered early childhood. Future topics include Understanding welfare differently (with Paul Spicker), Poverty & Ethnicity (with JRF and Gary Craig) and the Living Wage (with the Living Wage Foundation). You can be kept up to date with these events by joining our mailing list here

North East Child Poverty Policy Network –as well as supporting the work of the Commission, the regional child poverty co-ordinator also supports a child poverty policy network for local authority leads and voluntary sector officers working on child poverty. This group meets bi-monthly and discusses issues of common concern and policy developments. Officers from Child Poverty Action Group and the Child Poverty Unit regularly attend the network as well. As well as meeting formally as a group, the co-ordinator also supports local authorities with individual requests and advice and support. We have also developed strong links with CPAG and JRF which ensures that the work of these organisations-  and others – are shared with a wide audience in the NorthEast.

‘Local authorities, lcoal duties & local action’ – a report has just been completed that explores how local authorities in the North East have fulfilled their ‘local duties’ under the Child Poverty Act which requires them, along with their partners, to publish a Child Poverty Needs Assessment and a Child Poverty Strategy. The report looks at emerging themes within the region from these documents and highlights some potential policy options that local authorities could pursue. The report will be posted on our blog when it is published.

Awareness raising – the Commission also raise awareness of the issue of child poverty in the region through our own communications (the blog, the e-newsletter, Twitter, regional events etc) and those of other partner organisations such as VONNE, the Regional Youth Work Unit and the regional Children England network. The co-ordinator often responds to requests for comment and information on local media stories relating to child poverty.

If you’d like any further information on any of these projects, please feel free to get in touch with us.

Best wishes,

Steve

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