LEADING figures in tackling poverty in York have met at a forum organised by The Press.
Representatives from York Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB), Carecent, Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF) and The Besom Project were invited to the discussion linked to The Press’s Stamp Out Poverty campaign to highlight the impact of the recession and to examine the ways people can be brought out of poverty.
Figures released by City of York Council have shown that about one in eight of the city’s children – 4,705, or 13 per cent – are in poverty, and although the city as a whole is better off than the national average of 21 per cent, Clifton, Westfield and Hull Road are all worse off.
York CAB has also said it has seen a marked increase in contact from under-35s struggling to cover private rental costs in York as a result of benefit reforms and from people new to the benefit system – due to redundancy or ill-health – struggling to access help.
Concerns were raised at the meeting about pay-day loans and the accessibility of benefits and the impact of future cuts on families.
More people could be helped out of poverty if more employers paid the “living wage” of £7.45 an hour. Concerns were raised about the availabilty of support for single young people, who can often “slip through the net”, and pensioners.
Abigail Scott Paul, head of communications at JRF, said: “There are many faces of poverty. It’s not just the case of getting a job and it will be fine. People move in and out of poverty, it’s really dynamic.”
Nicky Gladstone, of Carecent, behind Central Methodist Church in St Saviourgate, which provides breakfasts to homeless and disadvantaged people in York, said she felt many of the people she worked with were men who had been written off or forgotten.
The Stamp Out Poverty campaign was launched after 11-month-old Telan Carlton died after spending all her life in a damp and overcrowded flat in York.
The Press hopes to hold further forums and to work with the organisations throughout the campaign.