Employers across the North of Tyne will be invited to participate in a programme to tackle child poverty in the region thanks to a partnership between North of Tyne Combined Authority (NTCA) and the social enterprise Society Matters cic.

NTCA is committed to giving every child in our region the opportunity to thrive. Which is why in June 2021, Cabinet approved a Child Poverty Prevention Programme (CPPP) for the North of Tyne.

Working with local authority partners and school leaders, we have developed a programme made up of three pillars:

  • Funding an innovative programme of poverty interventions in schools across the North of Tyne
  • Bringing welfare rights advice and support directly into school settings
  • Working with employers to tackle child poverty

Society Matters will deliver the Working with Employers pillar. Their approach involves supporting employers across the North of Tyne to step up their support to employees, particularly in developing strategies to improve their financial wellbeing.

Jayne Graham MBE, Director of Society Matters, which is the trading subsidiary of charity Citizens Advice Gateshead, believes a lot can be achieved through the programme if employers are prepared to engage.  Jayne said “Our aspiration for this programme is to improve awareness amongst employers of the realities of in-work poverty, and most importantly to support them to put in place practical measures that will make a real difference to financial wellbeing of their staff and, in turn, their families.  We have already identified best practice examples through talking to employers across the region which will be fairly straight-forward to replicate – our job is to make sure employers have the tools and support they need to take immediate action to avoid financial problems spiralling out of control.”

Employers will be encouraged to participate in a series of workshops and masterclasses,and will be supported to undertake Poverty Reduction Audits and to work with the Society Matters team to convert the findings of the audits into detailed poverty reduction strategies.

Cllr Karen Kilgour Cabinet Member for Education, Inclusion and Skills said: “It is not poverty but opportunity which is every child’s birth right – with a fair chance in life, support and security. This should be every child’s destiny in the North of Tyne, which is why we set up our Child Poverty Prevention Programme.

Our three constituent local authorities Newcastle, North Tyneside and Northumberland are working hard to address the causes and symptoms of child poverty across the North of Tyne. This is more important than ever; we know that the ongoing impacts of the pandemic have made life more difficult for too many families and households in our region.

Data tells us that employment is not always a route out of poverty. Besides paying a decent wage, employers can take practical steps to support employees experiencing financial insecurity. Employers across the region will be invited to participate in the programme, with a priority focus on those that have a high proportion of lower-paid employees with families. This is more important than ever; we know that the ongoing impacts of the pandemic recent cost of living increases have made life more difficult for too many families and households in our region.

Read more about the programme here, or to find out how you can get your organisation involved please contact Jayne Graham at Society Matters cic at hello@societymatterscic.com