We thought you might like a progress report on our efforts to disrupt poverty in Leeds.
What happened at the April Results Factory to Disrupt Poverty in Leeds?
Once again about 40 people from across the city came together because we are concerned about the impact of poverty in Leeds; because we know that:
we cannot claim to be a good city, never mind a great one, while 1 in 5 of our children live in poverty.
The group included university students and staff, people from private, public and third sector backgrounds and individuals of ‘no sector.’ We came together not just to talk about the problem, and to learn about it, but to see what practical actions we might be able to do that would help, and to have some fun.
We started off with some introductions and then some of the projects that had started work took a few minutes to tell us about their progress:
Nick Morgan – Benefit Testing
Nick told us of a project that had been developed by a Disrupting Poverty Group to take 50 of Leeds City Council’s lowest paid employees through a benefits checking process to see whether they are claiming all of their entitlements. As well as helping them to claim all that they are entitled too it is hoped that this project will give us further information about the extent of ‘underclaiming’ in the city and allow further work to be done to turn the curve on unclaimed benefits.
Sharon Ward – Creativity in West Leeds
Sharon told us about the work that several West Leeds creative types Logistik, Interplay and Feature Media were collaborating on to ensure that recent cuts to the I Love West Leeds Festival budget did not mean less access to cultural activities in West Leeds. The project is busy making wooden figures for children to paint in advance of the festival that will be displayed in public places to show support for the festival , and Interplay will be filming with kids on the festival day.
Ben Fisher – Fuel Poverty
Ben told us that there were already some student groups working on the politics of fuel poverty, but he was interested in working in more practical ways too, for example by using students to take the word about programmes such as Wrap-up Leeds into communities that could really benefit from it. We also invited Mike Shamash from The Peoples Power to come and talk to us about how switching and reverse auctions could be used to negotiate better deals en masse with utility companies.
We also explored the possibility of a new project focusing on how primary schools might be used as local hub from which to start practical work on Disrupting Poverty. From what I can make out there was a lot of enthusiasm for this idea and so watch this space with interest.
If you would like to learn more about any of these projects – or to get involved then please do get in touch….
Looking Forward & Keeping In Touch
We plan to hold similar events every quarter where we will develop our existing projects work and where there is an opportunity and passion start new ones.
The next Results Factory on Disrupting Poverty will be held in July. We are currently fixing a venue and date, so if you fancy hosting us please do get in touch!
We have set up a facebook page where we can carry on the conversations. http://www.facebook.com/Dispovleeds Please do have a look, give us a like and encourage others to join.
We have also set up a discussion list so we call all keep in touch about new projects and ideas needing our involvement, support or advice. If you join this list you will be able to contact, and be contacted by all other list members, so it will really help you to keep in touch. https://lists.riseup.net/www/info/dispovleeds
We hope to build a movement in the city of people who want to act in a coordinated and organised way to disrupt poverty in Leeds. Anyone is welcome, to work on any project that has a ‘reasoned chance’ of disrupting poverty, of making a positive difference. So, please think about joining us if you haven’t already and think about who else you know who might want to get involved.
With thanks to Logistik, Leeds University Students Union and Leeds City Council for their support and to Michael Knapp for designing the Disrupting Poverty Logo!
Best wishes from the Disrupting Poverty Leeds team: Mike, Sharon, Ben and Nicola