Calderdale unites to tackle poverty

Councillor Jenny Lynn

The incredible joint efforts of Calderdale’s communities to tackle poverty will be discussed by the Council’s Cabinet on Monday 9 November.

Calderdale Council, community organisations and volunteers have a longstanding commitment to work together to support our most vulnerable residents.

This was highlighted in the recent launch of the Never Hungry Again campaign by the Council, the Community Foundation for Calderdale, The Piece Hall Trust and other organisations throughout the borough. The collective aim is to end child food poverty for good through long-term work and a new fund which people can donate to: link)

The campaign builds on the excellent ongoing work to tackle local poverty. Together, the Council and a range of organisations across Calderdale launched a joint Anti-Poverty Action Plan in December 2018. Progress is reported annually to show the difference being made to local people’s lives.

2020 has been a year like no other. The latest progress report looks at the response during the COVID-19 pandemic as well as the months before.

Cllr Jenny Lynn, Calderdale Council’s Cabinet Member for Public Services and Communities, said:

“Poverty can affect people in many ways, from their education, employment and housing, to their health, wellbeing and life expectancy. Sadly, people living in poverty have been more severely affected by COVID-19. The pandemic has also led to further hardship for many residents.


“However, Calderdale is well known for its kindness and resilience. The Anti-Poverty Annual Report is full of examples of people and organisations across Calderdale uniting to help each other, with many heart-warming positive outcomes for those who have been struggling.


“Calderdale is also full of hope and ambition. The Vision2024 for Calderdale aims to help everyone reach their potential. Tackling poverty is key to achieving this and reducing inequalities across the borough.”

Key achievements in the last 12 months to help tackle poverty in Calderdale:

  • Continued support to local voluntary and community groups through the Council’s Advice Grants Programme of £75,000 per year, helping local people with debt and budgeting advice to boost their financial resilience.
  • An incredible response to the pandemic from the voluntary and community sector, with over 800 people coming forward to volunteer with the Council to support residents most at risk.
  • Ongoing work to prevent local residents from falling into poverty, including help to heat and power their homes more economically; an Employment Hub supporting young people to get jobs and apprenticeships; and school holiday food schemes and continued support for local food banks, which the new #NeverHungryAgain campaign will build on.
  • Work to bring local residents back out of poverty, including the ‘Street Reach’ service to support people who are rough sleeping or street begging; and digital support, such as voluntary organisations raising funds for wi-fi provision.
  • A range of resilience work to help keep residents out of poverty.

Farrakh Hafiz from Halifax Opportunities Trust said:

“When the pandemic hit, we knew we had to mobilise quickly to ensure local residents did not have to go without food. Luckily with the close partnership links we have with Himmat and St Augustine’s Centre we were quickly able to get food out to those who needed it most. We were delighted with how the community rallied round to donate stock, funds and offer support to deliver parcels.”

Sara Robinson from St Augustine’s Centre added:

“We were able to support a number of asylum seekers, refugees and others who were struggling with mental health and financial issues, through our Employability project in 2019. By ensuring they had the basic support they needed and access to other local services to build confidence, networks and skills, we’ve seen significant changes in a number of those we work with, and it’s been wonderful to celebrate with those who have then stepped into paid employment.”

Next steps:

  • Continuing the long-term, joint commitment to the #NeverHungryAgain campaign.
  • Supporting people whose mental wellbeing has been affected by the pandemic.
  • Helping more people to develop digital skills and improve access to online services. This is more important than ever due to the pandemic and social distancing.

The Council’s Anti-Poverty Annual Report will be discussed at its Cabinet meeting on Monday 9 November 2020. The meeting will be held virtually from 6pm and will be live streamed through the Council’s YouTube channel.

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