Working together to Tackle Poverty – a theme
On Monday of this week the Communities and Tackling Poverty Minister Jeff Cuthbert spoke at a national Welsh Local Government Association event. The aim of the day was to bring together those working in the field of homelessness to look at how the financial capability of service users affects their chances of gaining and retaining a home. All credit to the WLGA, they did a sterling job of encouraging attendance from a wide range of delegates who were all hearing the common messages from their own perspective. Clearly those with a remit in Revenues and Benefits Departments would have a different perspective on what all of this means to them than someone who works in a hostel.
The Minister outlined the Welsh Government’s support in this area and made clear its commitment to Tackle Poverty through a cross departmental approach.
Our Programme Director for Financial Inclusion, Teej Dew, spoke about the strategic overview of Financial Inclusion and the journey that we have all made to come to this point, where Poverty and Welfare Benefit Reform is at the forefront of all of our minds.
Sian Williams of Toynbee Hall gave her perspective on what exactly people who are struggling with their money really want and need – a great logic check as to why, exactly, we were all there. What they need is help to help themselves, and that is Financial capability, financial services that will help them to manage and the confidence to use. They need this support all in one place and in an easy to understand format that they can relate to their own lives.
So, how were these messages received? Well, there was a healthy balance of motivation for change and uncertainty over the availability of resources to do what we need to do. What is clear is that we will all have to work differently and with other agencies to provide what people really need.
Last week saw the launch, again by the Minister, of the Conwy & Denbighshire Local Service Board ‘Financial Inclusion Together’.
The aim of the ESF funded project is to improve the strategic co-ordination and collaboration of services across Conwy & Denbighshire to ensure that financial inclusion is integrated and embedded into normal service delivery of relevant public, private and third sector organisations. It will improve access to quality financial inclusion information and advice services which will make sure that people in Conwy and Denbighshire are empowered to manage a challenging economic future.
So, why is this new and different? Collaboration. Collaboration; before, during and after the project’s design and hopefully now through to delivery. Our North Wales Financial Inclusion Champion, Rhian Hughes, has worked with the LSB from the outset and has seen the group progress their thinking throughout to focus on how, together, they will make the most of the resources they have to provide support.
Make no mistake this isn’t easy, but we all need to develop our thinking because this is the way of the future.