Big decisions over poverty

Conference to focus on child poverty in Blackpool and (below) Blackpool Councillor Amy Cross.
Conference to focus on child poverty in Blackpool and (below) Blackpool Councillor Amy Cross.
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A TOP level conference will focus on child poverty in Blackpool, members of the public who work with young people are invited to the Blackpool Together on Poverty event.

People will be invited to the event which takes place on Friday at the Winter Gardens, to share their ideas on the way forward.

Blackpool Councillor Amy Cross

Blackpool Councillor Amy Cross

It is the latest in a string of initiatives designed to help deprived families after it was found almost a third - around 9,200 - of all children are living in poverty in the resort.

Coun Amy Cross, cabinet member for younger people, said: “Tackling the issue of child poverty is something we need to come together to do as a town. It’s a priority for the council but we can only achieve a positive way forward by listening to the views of as many people as possible.

“It is a complex issue and there’s no quick fix. Within the next two months we will publish a child poverty framework with an action plan laying out the way forward. We hope to transform the lives of children and young people to enable them to have a brighter future.

“It’s vitally important as many people as possible contribute their thoughts and ideas. I requested the scrutiny committee to convene a review panel to gain views and comments from all political parties.

“The conference will be a really useful event and I’d like to appeal to anyone who works with children and young people to come along and help shape our future plans.”

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The latest available figures, from 2009, show 29.5 per cent of children in Blackpool are living below the breadline.

This includes more than half of children in Bloomfield - one of the town’s most deprived neighbourhoods.

The overall level of poverty in the resort is now 7.6 per cent higher than the national average.

A cross-party group of councillors led by Coun Lily Henderson has produced a report on child poverty which went to the council’s scrutiny committee last Thursday. Among its recommendations are calls for more to be done to bring jobs to the town.

Meanwhile community campaigns have already been successful in helping some vulnerable residents.

The Give A Little... Help A Lot appeal raised more than £50,000 to ensure Christmas gifts were distributed to children who otherwise might have had to go without.

Anyone wishing to attend Friday’s conference can do so by emailing owd@blackpool.gov.uk.

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