Council endorse Poverty Alleviation Plan

Malvern Hills District Council is working with partners to make steps to tackle poverty in the district with the development of a Poverty Alleviation Plan

The plan, which runs from 2022 to 2024, was fully endorsed by the Executive Committee at Malvern Hills District Council on Tuesday 22 March 2022.

It aims to achieve financial wellbeing for all, where residents of the Malvern Hills district can easily access advice, information, and support to help effectively manage their finances.

The council and its partners will do this by delivering actions that prevent residents from getting into poverty and help them to survive and recover from financial difficulty.

Some actions in the Poverty Alleviation Partnership Plan include:

  • Support residents to develop their financial resilience and capability so that they can plan and know when to seek advice.
  • Work with schools to strengthen young people's money management life skills education programme.
  • Develop, fund, and promote travel to work options in the district, to include a range of transport options – to reduce barriers to accessing work.
  • Improve digital access through the development of digital skills and confidence, whilst ensuring that digital products and services meet the needs of residents.
  • Develop, promote, and support work programmes that help residents to prepare for and find work.
  • Engage with householders to support them with their energy consumption, offering a full home energy support service and free, impartial advice.
  • Work with partners to reduce the risk of rough sleeping or approaching housing at crisis point and ensure other services are accessed by those in need of homelessness support.

Funding for the plan will be allocated from the Council's Connected Communities Fund, in addition to existing resources and services provided by the council, including revenues and benefits service, financial assistance grant, funding to information and advice organisations such as South Worcestershire Citizens Advice.

In October 2020, a member task and finish group was set up to look at the causes of poverty and review the impact of COVID on poverty. The Overview and Scrutiny Committee received a final report from the group in November 2021 which guided the plan.

The plan forms part of the council's Five-Year Plan commitment to 'work with local partners to tackle poverty through raising awareness of its impact and assisting services that provide support in local support'.

Cllr Natalie McVey, Portfolio Holder for Housing and Health at Malvern Hills District Council said: "We are really pleased that the Poverty Alleviation Plan has been endorsed, as tackling poverty is a high priority commitment for us. It is important to recognise that alleviating poverty is a responsibility of multiple sectors within the district, so, as a council, we must ensure that we continue to adopt a wide role, working alongside partners to take action to support residents."

Marie Henry, Chief Executive Officer at Citizens Advice South Worcestershire said: "Poverty impacts thousands of our residents each year and the rising cost of living we are currently facing will only exacerbate this. This collaborative approach with key district partners gives us a real chance of succeeding to alleviate poverty in Malvern District.

"We understand that this is a big ambition and a long term aim; Poverty looks different for different communities and individuals so the preventative work and work around exclusion is just as important as tailoring our plan to try and encompass as many local issues as we can. This plan, which was developed using local information, statistics and listening to local people, is the key to mitigating and relieving the symptoms of poverty as well as preventing it for the future."

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