Leeds Poverty Truth Commission a 'springboard' for others across UK

Leeds Poverty Truth Commission members.
Leeds Poverty Truth Commission members.

A Leeds campaign to put people who have experienced poverty at the heart of tackling inequality in the city has been a “springboard” for other such projects around the country, a member has said.

The YEP has this week highlighted the work of Leeds Poverty Truth Commission, an organisation which wants to shine a light on the subtle ways people from a low income backgrounds are “dehumanised”.

Drawing on the wisdom of people in East End Park discussing poverty, but who were not being heard at a “city-wide level”, facilitator Andrew Grinnell took a lead from a Scottish scheme and the second Leeds Poverty Truth Commission finished last month with the launch of its Humanifesto.

Ten other locations across the country have now finished, are running or about to begin similar projects.

Mr Grinnell, 44, of Crossgates, said: “In truth, the Leeds one was the springboard. It’s not overstating it to say that all the other commissions were enabled because of what we’ve done in Leeds.”

As part of the projects people who have experienced poverty are encouraged to bond with those in civic leadership roles.

He said: “Yes, you do start with the grassroots, but very quickly you start to build human relationships between the top-down and the bottom-up. Rather than a stand-off, it’s the relationships that enable new solutions to develop that are owned collectively.”

An example is commissioner Amina Weston setting up Education Aid, which recycles school uniforms, with help from new business contacts.