Council launches new way of working to help people in poverty

15 March 2018

Cheshire West and Chester Council, in partnership with a range of local service providers, has taken a radical new approach to changing the lives of residents in the borough who are living in relative poverty.

The challenge of improving the health and wealth of people living in the five most deprived wards of Ellesmere Port has demanded a new and unique way of working: by giving power to the people. 

The multi-agency programme Building Futures has been launched by Cheshire West and Chester Council, supported by almost £400,000 of funding.

It aims to help residents prosper by providing services which are relevant to those who use them. Members of the Building Futures Steering Group will achieve this by working in collaboration with residents and placing them at the heart of the decision making process.

Building Futures offers residents the chance to share power with local decision makers so that their needs are listened to and they have influence over how services are designed and delivered.

Projects underway include:
  • A free, bespoke low-level mental health counselling service run by Healthbox CIC, which enables swift referral and support
  • Development of career pathways for young people which reflect actual, available jobs in Ellesmere Port, run by a collaboration between secondary schools , Cheshire College South and West and employers.
  • A Winter Fuel Bank giving residents access to emergency help through Citizens Advice Cheshire West.
  • An Employment Enabler Fund which helps job seekers and those wanting to progress in work pay for necessities such as clothing for interviews, travel expenses and training costs.
  • Support through the Council’s Help Team for households to maximise their income when they are struggling with paying bills.
Councillor Nicole Meardon, Cabinet Member for Children and Young People and Mayor of Ellesmere Port, said: “Building Futures focusses on the five wards in Ellesmere Port town where the deprivation scores demonstrate that residents are experiencing significant long term struggles that are associated with poverty and inequality.

“The programme aims to achieve a population level decrease in inequalities. There is a need for an effective system, process and mindset shift across multiple areas. It is a radical move away from delivering only traditional services to a new methodology which shapes services that engage with lived problems and help to resolve real people’s situations.” The Building Futures Steering Group consists of numerous bodies including Cheshire West and Chester Council, Cheshire College South and West, Healthbox CIC, Citizens Advice Cheshire West, Cheshire Police, For Housing, EPNAVCO, Cheshire Wirral Partnership NHS Foundation Trust and Brio Leisure. Other organisations and voluntary groups from Ellesmere Port are represented through the projects being developed.

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