The continued impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on inequalities faced by Calderdale communities is being recognised in the Council’s Anti-Poverty Action Plan and Annual Report.
Calderdale Council has a longstanding commitment to work in partnership with statutory and voluntary sector partners to support the borough’s most vulnerable residents.
People living in poverty have been some of those most severely affected by the impacts of the pandemic and services have reported that the issues people are facing are more complex, requiring partnership working more than ever.
At the meeting of the Council’s Cabinet on Monday 8 November, members will discuss the work being carried out in communities across the borough as part of the Anti-Poverty Action Plan.
The plan is a live document so it can be updated to rapidly respond to emerging needs of residents trying to manage on low incomes. This has been particularly important in responding to issues experienced as a result of COVID-19.
The plan has three key areas of work:
- to prevent people from falling into poverty,
- to support residents living in poverty through intervention,
- and to help people be more resilient to stay out of poverty.
The Anti-Poverty Steering Group, which includes representatives from statutory and voluntary sector partners, co-ordinates this work. The group’s activities are wide ranging, spanning housing, welfare and debt advice, education, employment and training, food poverty, fuel poverty, health and wellbeing and early intervention and signposting.
One example of the work to support those living in food poverty is the Healthy Holidays scheme. Calderdale Council and the Community Foundation for Calderdale teamed up with organisations across the borough to provide 15,000 free activity sessions in 43 venues throughout the school summer holidays, for the most vulnerable children and young people and those eligible for free school meals.
Overall, 78% of children eligible for free school meals in Calderdale attended the available sessions, supporting families and improving the health and wellbeing of children and young people.
The Anti-Poverty Annual Report recognises that the year ahead is likely to be tough for some local families, with the continued impacts of the pandemic, increases in the cost of living and the end to the Universal Credit uplift contributing to these difficulties. The partnership will continue to look for ways to deal with such challenges.
It’s being recommended to Cabinet that the group continues to build on the existing partnership approach to poverty, as well as seek new ways and opportunities to strengthen the joint co-ordinated action through effective use of resources.
Calderdale Council’s Cabinet Member for Public Services and Communities, Cllr Jenny Lynn, said:
“We know that many people living in Calderdale face a regular struggle to make ends meet, with an estimated 14,000 people in the borough being paid less than the living wage. We want to do all we can to support those living in, or near poverty.
“Reducing inequalities is one of Cabinet’s key priorities and the work of the Anti-Poverty Steering Group plays an important role in this work, supporting some of our most vulnerable residents. This is particularly important alongside our recovery work from the pandemic – the impacts of which are likely to be felt for many years to come.
“The 2021 Anti-Poverty Annual Report outlines some of the important work being done to tackle the many and varied situations which can lead to people experiencing poverty. It also includes case studies which show how our partnership work is making a real difference to people’s lives.”
The work of the Anti-Poverty Steering Group supports the Vision2024 for Calderdale to be a place where you can reach your potential and live a larger life. Find out more at www.calderdale.gov.uk/vision
The Anti-Poverty Action Plan and Annual Report will be discussed at the meeting of Calderdale Council’s Cabinet on Monday 8 November. The meeting will take place at Halifax Town Hall from 6pm and will be live streamed at https://calderdale.public-i.tv/core/portal/home(external link)