Keele institute working with local authority to develop policies to tackle poverty

The Keele Institute for Social Inclusion (KISI) is supporting Cheshire West and Chester Council to shape poverty-related policy through new research, which is set to be presented at an online showcase event.

The event, which will be held on 14 July, will bring together a diverse community who will share their experiences and offer debate around the challenges and opportunities associated with tackling poverty emergencies.

KISI will explore whether lived experience of poverty can influence policy in a more ethical, thorough, effective and empowering way and, if so, what needs to change for this to happen.

KISI have worked in partnership with Cheshire West and Chester Council, Chester University and Mondrem CIC, to bring together a multidisciplinary team of sociologists, political scientists, human geographers, arts-based creative practitioners and public service improvement experts, to help shape the Covid-19 Poverty Emergency response.

In October 2020, the Council made a Poverty Emergency Declaration and committed to working more closely with universities and to providing support to the communities that have been hit the hardest by the economic fallout of the Covid-19 pandemic, providing community education and support to explore collective business ownership models.

By listening to people’s lived experience of poverty, the research will provide the opportunity to understand the root causes of poverty and increase the sense of ‘agency’ in how policymakers can address the issue of poverty, with access to a more critical analysis of the problem.

Cheshire West and Chester Council was the first council to declare a Poverty Emergency and is urging other impacted councils to take action and join together.

Professor Derek McGhee, Faculty Dean of Research for Humanities and Social Sciences, and Director of the Keele Institute for Social Inclusion, said: “Covid-19 has exposed deep inequalities in our country. KISI is delighted to be part of the ‘Poverty Emergency Movement’ which is responding to these inequalities.

“KISI’s critical and practical questions are related to how the declaring councils will attempt to create a closer relationship between the lived experience of poverty and evidence-based policy making to address poverty through these declarations. Through our research we hope to gain insights on the challenges and opportunities for achieving this.”

Councillor Mandy Clare, Lead Champion for Poverty and Equality at Cheshire West and Chester Council, said: "We are looking forward to working more closely with the other councils that have already shown an interest in making this declaration, to take our response to poverty beyond the immediate and the local and to play our part in pushing for greater awareness and fundamental change nationally.”

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To find out more and register your interest, please contact Gemma Loomes on g.loomes@keele.ac.uk before Friday 02-July 2021.


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