United in fight against poverty

Experts and councillors such as (below) Amy Cross have been meeting to discuss child poverty issues.
Experts and councillors such as (below) Amy Cross have been meeting to discuss child poverty issues.
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BREAKING down barriers to jobs, training and better housing are among the priorities identified at a high level conference which focused on child poverty in Blackpool.

Childcare experts, volunteers, councillors and charity leaders were among the delegates who met at the Winter Gardens for the Blackpool Together on Poverty event.

Blackpool Councillor Amy Cross

Blackpool Councillor Amy Cross

The conference was prompted by the need to help deprived families after figures showed almost a third – around 9,200 – of all children are living in poverty in the resort.

Among the speakers was Children’s Society director Elaine Hindal who said other towns could learn from the strides Blackpool was making in tackling the issue.

She said: “The figures for Blackpool look bad but sadly the picture here is not that different from the national average.

“There are pockets of absolute deprivation but I feel as though there is a commitment from the council to connect up services and what is happening here is really progressive.

“There is some really innovative work around social housing, and a real commitment here in Blackpool to protecting children’s centres.”

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Coun Amy Cross, cabinet member for younger people on the council, said it was vital to engage the whole community in making a difference to young lives.

She said: “No matter how many people have got involved already, there are always more people we can ask for contributions.

“We need to go out into the community and say the council are really trying to work with everybody that can have an impact on child poverty.”

One group already working with the council is the Blackpool-based Aiming Higher charity which supports the families of disabled children.

Its chairman Gail Leach said: “We have worked to get new play schemes and now have five different schemes in Blackpool.

“As a result of this I know of at least two mums of disabled children who have been able to go back to work part-time.”