At the recent Virtual Poverty Truth Commission I met a Facilitator who once worked in Northamptonshire but is now very much part of the Gateshead Poverty Truth Commission. As Gateshead is more mature than our own Commission in Northamptonshire, I asked him to recount his story. This is what he had to say:
‘I worked as a Social Worker in Northamptonshire from the 1970s until the turn of the century. I’ve been retired now for almost 9 years, but active as a volunteer since then. I worked freelance for a while after moving up here to the North.
Since being a student, I have long been concerned that poverty and injustice were at the bottom of people’s difficulties.
I was brought up to treat everyone with dignity and respect, and worked in the third sector, for a while in Northampton, and with a particular interest in mental well-being, and children and young people. In the 1990s, I worked for Social Services, and then the Care Standards Commission as a Registration and Inspection Officer. For a while, the “patch” I covered was what was formerly South Northants.
Enough about me….I find myself enthusiastic about the Poverty Truth Network and about the growth and development of Commissions, and believe the strapline “Nothing about us without us is for us” is spot on. It also fits with the present momentum in society towards a greater sense, and need, of community and belonging. The process of ongoing communication and dialogue, as in the Poverty Truth Network is also healthy.
I am currently reading “Human Kind – a Hopeful History” by Rutger Bregman. I recommend it as inspiration for the work we do.
Gateshead is a very welcoming group of commissioners to be part of, which is so important. It’s proving quite dynamic and creative.
I send best wishes for the progress of your Commission, and hope to see you at future sessions. Obviously I’ll follow Northampton with particular interest.
Roger (Gateshead Poverty Truth Commission)
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