Pledge for action to halt ‘soul destroying and heartbreaking flood of poverty’ in Hartlepool
Action is needed to halt the ‘soul destroying and heartbreaking flood of poverty’ in Hartlepool, leaders have said.
Councillors in the borough have stressed talking to people impacted by poverty must be at the heart of their investigation into the issue.
Members of the Hartlepool Borough Council Audit and Governance Committee are continuing with their investigation into child poverty in the town as part of their work programme for the year.
At the latest meeting, they received presentations on the topic from the Joseph Rowntree Foundation and Thrive, a Teesside charity, to help guide and inform their research.
Councillors stressed the importance of residents impacted and living in poverty taking the lead on how work is carried out.
Cllr John Riddle said: “I don’t want to feel sorry for these people who are in poverty, I want to do something about it.
“We’ve got a flood here of poverty that is absolutely crippling a lot of people in Hartlepool.”
Cllr Moss Boddy said he was working with people dealing with poverty in the town 40 years ago, and the issue still persists.
He said: “If we are going to do anything, today or in the near future, about poverty, we need to be able to get alongside people and allow them to give us an insight on how they live their lives.”
Joan Stevens, council statutory scrutiny manager, noted they will be carrying out work in the near future to engage with residents impacted by poverty.
Cllr Rob Cook, chair of the audit and governance committee, added it is ‘soul destroying and heartbreaking’ to see people in poverty in the town.
He said: “We should be able to talk to these people so that we fully understand what they’re going through now.
“People are proud, and they don’t want to be seen to be in that situation.”
Richard Sorton, from the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, noted although poverty can affect anybody, and is rarely the result of a single factor, there are some people who are more at risk.
He said: “It’s not easy, and we don’t have all the answers, but I do believe the answers are there to be discovered.”
Cllr Tom Feeney noted if the council can help “just 500 families in Hartlepool” throughout the investigation, it would be worth it.
Cllr Cook added: “If we can help 500, if we can help 100, if we can help any family that’s in poverty in Hartlepool, that would be a plus for me.”