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Poverty Truth 1

Birmingham Poverty Truth Commission launched its full commission in May. Building on the first commission in 2019, Thrive Together Birmingham, in collaboration with Birmingham City Council and Public Health, began the second Poverty Truth Commission in the City. The uniqueness of a Poverty Truth Commission starts with those with lived experience.

Over the past 12 months the Commission has been working alongside community commissioners, who have built relationships with each other and shared their stories. In launching the full commission, civic and business leaders were invited to listen to those who are experiencing the impact of poverty in a storytelling event.

This event was an important moment, as community commissioners shared their stories with people who have influence and decision making in our city. Individual stories were told, followed by a poem written for the commission by Birmingham poet Amerah Saleh, which was performed together with the community commissioners. Councillor John Cotton gave a reflection on what was heard from the stories presented. Fred Rattley CEO of Thrive Together Birmingham, echoed Councillor Cottons invite to consider how change might happen differently to address poverty in Birmingham.

It was acknowledged by those who attended, the powerful nature of listening to the stories and how the voice of lived experience was essential to informing decision making, which would impact on the lives of citizens. The full commission of community and civic commissioners will now journey together over the next 10 months. Civic commissioners will remove their titles and get to know those in the full commission as people first. In doing this, real and honest conversations can begin to identify areas of poverty that are important and how these might be addressed over this time.