New community programme aims to help tackle Hartlepool poverty issues

Reisdent community researchers with Hartlepool Council chief executive Gill Alexander (front centre).
Reisdent community researchers with Hartlepool Council chief executive Gill Alexander (front centre).

A new initiative have been launched to fight poverty in Hartlepool by bringing people together.

The Hartlepool Action Lab is a project supported by Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF) and it unites community members, businesses, community groups and the public sector in working on issues that affect everyone in Hartlepool.

The Action Lab will support a collaborative approach to identifying key challenges important to people who live in Hartlepool and seek to make positive change through collective action.

Organisers say the town has a child poverty rate of 30%, unemployment stands at 10% and a pension credit claimant rate of 33%.

Katherine Blaker, community research and grants manager at JRF, said: “Our vision is for a prosperous Hartlepool without poverty where everyone can thrive and contribute.

“The aim of the Hartlepool Action Lab is to bring people together from across the community, and see how JRF can support local people and organisations to create change that benefits everyone in Hartlepool.

“We would urge and welcome people to get in touch and get involved in making that change happen.”

Gill Alexander, chief executive of Hartlepool Borough Council, said: “Eradicating poverty in Hartlepool is a top priority for the council and we are involved in a number of initiatives to support people in the local community. 
“The council fully supports this latest initiative launched by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation which is a demonstration of their commitment to make a difference to the town and improve local people’s lives.”

Building on its existing presence, JRF began discussions in 2015 with organisations and people from Hartlepool to better understand the challenges people in the town face.

Yesterday, the foundation hosted the Hartlepool Action Lab to kick-start that process.

The first round of collaborators included Hartlepool Borough Council, the Big Lottery Fund and Hartlepool Carers.

For more information, or if you would like to get involved visit the Hartlepool Action Lab Twitter @HartActionLab or email hello@hartlepoolactionlab.org.