Creating spaces for people to talk about experiences of poverty

Wolverhampton Poverty Truth started with a question:

What if people who have directly experienced poverty were involved in making the decisions about how to tackle poverty in Wolverhampton?

Working closely with other Poverty Truth Commissions across the UK, Transforming Communities Together brought together a group of people with lived experience of poverty and hardship (Grassroots Voices) and some of Wolverhampton's civic and business leaders - the City Shapers.

The Grassroots and City Shaper groups worked TOGETHER to investigate three poverty topics in detail and to form solutions, which they presented to the City at a Showcase Event in June 2018.

The work continues...

The Poverty Truth values of ensuring that listening to the voice of those with lived experience is central to the way our work at TCT happens, and is enshrined in our key values.

We have continued to build our relationships with Poverty Truth Network. and actively supporting and participating in their work going forward.

We have also been building on our relationship with the University of Wolverhampton, joining their Poverty Interest Group.

Our relationship with the Black Country Chamber of Commerce built during the Poverty Truth process, has lead to the development of the Payroll Savings campaign.


1. Mental Health

Our subgroup considering mental health recognised how the lack of mental health support in the work place readily led to job-loss. We endorsed the ‘Time to Change Employer Pledge’. As with other themes, the combination of our City Shaper’s reach within the sector and the personal testimony and ideas of our Grassroots Voices made a powerful impact.

City of Wolverhampton Council Poverty Truth
City of Wolverhampton Council: "The signing of the pledge by the council was a key recommendation of the Wolverhampton Poverty Truth Commission, a grassroots movement working with civic and business leaders to improve the lives of others."

2. Support Networks

Our subgroup looking at the impact of support networks in the city identified improved co-ordination, greater resourcing and better relationships as areas for action. In order to improve access, the group promoted greater use of Wolverhampton Information Network (WIN) as a web-based resource for all agencies in the City offering support for those experiencing aspects of poverty. We advocate for a city-wide referral system, with dedicated support for those with additional needs.

3. Housing

Our subgroup looking at housing was particularly concerned about the lack of support for single people at risk of homelessness. We advocated a cooperative model for houses with multiple occupancy, and starter kits for when people move into accommodation.

Corin Crane

'Wolverhampton Poverty Truth has been a genuinely inspirational project bringing local residents and service users together with decision makers to try and change the way we support those who are facing the awful issues surrounding poverty. The commitment of the City of Wolverhampton Council to this project is fantastic news and shows how good partnerships can drive positive change.'

Corin Crane, CE, Black Country Chamber of Commerce