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Thursday, 17 April 2014

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Survey aims to draw a line under poverty

A NEW survey launched today marks an important step in accurately gauging how widespread poverty has become in Furness.

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TOUGH ISSUES Furness MP John Woodcock, left, with Greengate Infant School head teacher Caroline Hoggarth and Furness Poverty Commission secretary, Joe Nixon JON GRANGER

The Furness Poverty Commission – together with the Evening Mail – is launching the survey in a bid to shine a light on the issue.

The results will form an integral part of a comprehensive report to be tabled in parliament later this year.

Barrow and Furness MP John Woodcock commissioned the study after being inundated with reports of a surge in families slipping below the poverty line.

“We’ve got to tell the proper story about what is happening in the Furness area and we’re trying to set out new ways of doing this to make things a bit easier,” he said.

“There’s no magic wand for this problem, but I’m not prepared to accept defeat given how hard people are finding it.”

The Furness Poverty Commission includes representatives from councils, community groups, businesses and chur-ches.

Greengate Infant School headteacher Caroline Hoggarth is directing the commission.

“It’s about raising awareness and getting every service that we possibly can involved so that we can have some outcomes and recommendations that John can take to parliament,” she said.

Ms Hoggarth said poverty could have serious and long-lasting repercussions for children.

“It can mean children don’t get the support they need at home because the adults are struggling with finding a job or being out of work,” she said.

“Also, because in some cases there’s no working role model in the home, that can have an impact on their own aspirations and opportunities.”

Commission secretary Joe Nixon is coordinating the research and said the final report would be handed down by the end of March.

“What’s been so fantastic so far is that everyone’s been willing to work together and integrate skills and contacts and expertise,” he said.

The poverty survey is available on the Evening Mail’s website. Those without internet access can collect a hard copy from our office in Abbey Road.

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