Hello, James here, the community facilitator for Peterborough’s Poverty Truth Commission (PTC). This is the first in a series of blogs where I will update you on our journey, Peterborough’s PTC’s progress so far and where we are heading…..
If you’re unsure how a Poverty Truth Commission works, you can find some more information here, but in short; people with a lived experience of poverty should be involved in decision making around poverty, and this project centres their voices and enables them to build relationships with people who make decisions locally.
The first job was to identify what organisations in Peterborough were helping people in need, with food, advice, or anything else. In particular, the Winter Support Hubs were ongoing at the start of the project and represented a lot of what Peterborough is doing to help people who are experiencing poverty. Once we finished the mapping, we started contacting organisations to see if they’d be interested in hearing about our project and helping give us access to their communities.
Once we had some responses, the next step was simple: go out and talk to people! Relationships are the foundation of this project, and the fist relationships we are forming are between myself, organisations, and people in the community with lived experience. Listening is a big part of this project. We’ve been going to Winter Support Hubs, community cafes, community fridges, and just about anywhere else that is helping people in need, so we can be out in the community to meet people, hear their stories, and recruit people for the community side of our project.
While we have been having conversations with people about their experiences with struggle, Cheryl, our Civic and Business coordinator, has also been busy building relationships with people to be on the Civic and Business Commission. The conversations we have with the community inform who we are asking to be on the Civic Commission. For example, housing is a topic that absolutely everybody is talking about at all levels; we know that for things to change in Peterborough, we must have a conversation about housing, and that that conversation must include people from the Council’s housing department, local housing associations, and other decision makers in the sector.
Once we have recruited enough community commissioners, we will start getting together as a group to have a deeper discussion about what people have struggled with and what problems people in Peterborough face. The community group will have a chance to do some creative work to communicate their experiences which will be presented to the Civic group at an event towards the end of this year. This will lead into both halves of the project meeting as a full commission to build further relationships and investigate what needs to change in Peterborough, and how.
So far, the response has been fantastic, and it’s been great to go out and meet so many people and organisations that are passionate about making a difference in Peterborough. So far we’ve engaged with over ninety people and thirty organisations across Peterborough. If you’d like to be a part of this project in any way, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or 07760702430, or contact Cheryl at email@example.com, we’d love to hear from you.