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Tracey Herrington

Project Manager

I have worked in the VCS for over 15 years and been a part of Thrive since 2012. Developing partnerships and building the capacity of members of the community to tackle areas of social injustice are underpinning values and pivotal to the work of Thrive. It’s a difficult time for people and the issues that continue to keep people in poverty seem to be growing all the time. Barriers to full participation are ever more prevalent and it is through support from organisations like Thrive, that people have hope.


Corrina Eastwood

Community Organiser

I have worked for Thrive since 2014 and have just completed a two year project, ‘Empowering Sanctioned Claimants’ which has challenged the current unjust sanction’s regime. Benefit sanctions continue to have a huge impact on people and their families, both financially and emotionally thus creating severe hardship. We are continuing our campaign against this unjust regime and working with people in the community – gathering their testimonies


Kathleen Carter

Trustee

Kath has a business background, has managed staff and was once a community beneficiary of Thrive. She is now a Trustee of Thrive and is actively involved in speaking out and taking action against the issues that continue to keep people living in poverty. Kath has grassroots local knowledge and expertise and excellent links with members of the community. Since becoming involved with Thrive, Kath has received a Sheila McKechnie Foundation Award for her work on Thrive’s ‘Rip off TV’ campaign. “Thrive offered me the hand of friendship and a journey of enlightenment. I want the government and other people in power to listen to me…oh and I love rock and roll, the Beatles especially.”


Barbara Hungin

Trustee

Barbara has been a Trustee of Thrive for a number of years. She is also one of the founder members of Justice First and is currently Chair of Trustees. From 2001 she was a member of a group that ran a Stockton based Saturday morning ‘Drop In’ for newly dispersed asylum seekers. Barbara has spent her career in social work and counselling and is also Chair of the Middlesbrough Diocese Justice and Peace Commission


Steph Mulrine - Teesside University

Trustee

Prior to joining the Teesside University Health and Social Care Institute to undertake her PhD, Stephanie previously worked as a research assistant and had been lead on a Knowledge Transfer Partnership. Stephanie did her undergraduate degree at the University of York in Sociology and then went on to complete her Masters at Newcastle University in Sociology and Social Research.


Dr Ben Lamb - Teesside University

Trustee

Dr. Ben Lamb joined Teesside’s Media Department in 2015. Previously, Ben has lectured in media theory at the University of East Anglia’s School of Arts, Media, and American Studies and the University of South Wales’ Faculty of Creative Industries.

Ben is a fellow of the Higher Education Academy and is currently a member of Teesside’s Social Realism Seminar research group.


Heather Mew

Trustee

Heather has been a Trustee with Thrive since 2016. Heather has completed an undergraduate degree and an MA in Human Geography, with her research looking at how working class communities ‘fight back’ against negative stereotypes of people claiming benefits. This research was carried out in Stockton with the help of Thrive. In her spare time she can be usually found on Twitter, and although she now lives in York, Heather likes to spend as much time as possible visiting her family home in Bishopsgarth.


Dylan Eastwood

Media Sessional Worker

Dylan began work as a volunteer with Thrive. His role now within Thrive is to develop Thrive’s on line media presence, gather testimonies from people who are suffering financial hardship and disseminate this information throughout the Borough of Stockton. Dylan is passionate around this topic area and keen to affect change.

Stockton’s Googlebox is becoming a huge success thanks to the hard work and commitment from Dylan. Catch his work on Thrive’s YouTube Channel!


Sarah Lennon

Media Ambassador

Thrive’s media ambassador is one of the roles Sarah adopts with enthusiasm and energy. Sarah often writes articles depicting the harsh realities of people living in very difficult financial situations. Sarah is a keen historian and photographer and utilises these skills well to support the work of Thrive.


Lorraine Lennon

Volunteer

A valued volunteer of Thrive for a number of years now, Lorraine has excellent links within her community and lots of local knowledge that enable Thrive to reach out and engage people who would otherwise not engaged.

Lorraine has supported Thrive with a range of events and initiatives including the 2015 Hustings; Empowering Sanctioned Claimants, end of project event and The Big Conversation – raising awareness of World Hunger Day.

Lorraine is a keen participant of Thrive’s weekly coffee morning supporting Thrive to shape the delivery of projects and workshops


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"Helping Ordinary People Do Extraordinary Things"
- Thrive

"Thrive's vision is to close the gap between the rich and poor, ensuring social justice and equality for all in Teesside...

...People living in Teesside on the margins will have the support to be empowered to improve their livelihoods...

...gaining the power needed to effect real, transformative change and tackle issues that have, in the past, kept them in poverty" - Thrive

“As long as poverty, injustice and gross inequality persist in our world, none of us can truly rest” - Nelson Mandela

Welcome

Our Journey So Far

Since 2007, Thrive have been affecting change in our disadvantaged communities. Empowering sanctioned claimants Is one of many methods that Thrive have utilised to help marginalised members of the community to affect change, improve livelihoods and give people a voice. To find out more, please click on the icons below.

Thrive received funding from Comic Relief to deliver a 2 year project to empower sanction claimants and address the issue...

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Empowering Sanctioned Claimants

Thrive received funding from Comic Relief to deliver a 2 year project to empower sanction claimants and address the issue of job centre sanctions and consequent hardship.

The scale and depth of benefit sanctions have been causing financial hardship, emotional turmoil and ill health for many who have been sanctioned over the past few years.

It is accepted that there is a need for a „conditions‟ to be attached to the entitlement of benefits and in order to be eligible for JSA, a claimant would need to be available for work and actively seeking work. The Claimant Commitment is a record of responsibilities and requirements the claimant agrees to (numbers of jobs to apply for, meetings to attend..) and benefits are conditional on completing these requirements. If a claimant fails to agree or does not comply with their claimant commitment their benefits could be sanctioned and stopped for a period of time, usually a month, but potentially up to three years

There are numerous reports and collated evidence (The Oakley Review 2014, Benefit Sanctions Policy: Beyond the Oakley Review, Time to Rethink Benefit Sanctions, Church Action on Poverty et al 2014, Welfare Sanctions and Conditionality, Joseph Rowntree Foundation etc) raising concerns and the perceived injustice associated with the current sanctions regime and in particular, have highlighted:

  • The impact on peoples‟ lives – and the controversy in relation to the withholding of subsistence level benefit payments from people who may have little or no other income
  • The fairness and appropriateness of the need to administer a sanction or put forward a referral for a sanction – asking are they fair and proportionate to the mistakes that have occurred?
  • The lack of information available to claimants regarding the possibility they may be sanctioned or if they are sanctioned, the impact on other benefits and their right to apply for a hardship payment
  • The length of time sanctioned claimants wait for a hardship payment or reversal of a sanctioned decision
  • The variable evidence that questions the effectiveness of the sanction (i.e do sanctions improve people‟s job seeking behaviour and move them closer to the labour market?)

Statistics and testimonies from people who have been sanctioned would question the fairness of the current sanction regime.

  • There is still a high number of JSA sanctions being overturned nationally and locally (80,600 nationally in the 12 months leading up to March 2015 and for Stockton, it averaged at 34.4% between the 3 month period - Dec 2014 and March 2015)
  • A high proportion of people accessing the services of Thrive, Stockton District Advice Service and Stockton Welfare Rights have not appealed and many were unaware that they had the right to appeal the decision made.
  • The numbers of people who have been referred to foodbanks through Thrive has increased. Many of people Thrive refer have been sanctioned by the job centre.
  • A high proportion of sanctioned claimants in Stockton have been sanctioned for a „first non-compliance‟ action and reasons such as – missed appointments, late for appointment, not applying for a specific number of jobs, having conflicting appointment times... These sanctioned claimants ‘are actively seeking work’ but have evidenced a minor infringement of the jobseeking conditionality
  • A high proportion of people accessing the services of Thrive, „do not fully understand‟ their Claimant Commitment and have agreed to responsibilities and requirements as set out by their work coach advisor. In the words of one claimant, „I would have signed anything just to get out of there..they make you feel so small..I can‟t even sleep the night before my appointment at the job centre‟

Sanctions are often disproportionate to the mistakes that they punish.

The penalties attached to sanctions often do not appear proportionate to the „failure‟ that has occurred. If a similar system operated in a workplace – were pay was immediately removed for a month for being late for a meeting or not achieving a weekly target – we might reasonably expect action to be taken against an employer (Time to rethink Benefit Sanctions: A report by Church Action on Poverty et al). Testimonies from people accessing the services of Thrive have noted that decisions to sanction have been: “after securing 14 hours work a week, the job centre said I still had to apply for the same number of jobs set out in my claimant commitment, I wasn‟t able to do this so I was sanctioned..I‟m doing my best as a single parent and it obviously wasn‟t good enough”…. “my phone broke and I didn‟t have enough money to buy a new one… the job centre changed my appointment time and I didn‟t get the message so I was sanctioned for not turning up at the right time..I tried to explain they said I should have told them I lost my phone.. I was sanctioned for 4 weeks..”

Who is sanctioned?

Thrive have found that many of the people who access support following a sanction are often unable to comply with conditions rather than unwilling. There is a direct correlation between areas of deprivation and sanctions within the borough of Stockton. Sanctions are mainly concentrated in the centre of the Borough and deprived wards. People accessing support from advice agencies following a sanction are generally representative of the vulnerable members of our community. They have a range of mental health issues, long term disabilities, are isolated, have literacy problems and face a range of difficulties on a daily basis.

Impact

People are without money for weeks or months/ resorting to foodbanks and „are going without sufficient food…to maintain their health‟ (Dr Katie Garthwaite, Durham University). Thrive are now referring more people who have been sanctioned to the local foodbanks. People are talking about the strain on their families. Their immediate family are not in a position to support them financially and it is putting a strain on household budgets and family relationships

Effectiveness of sanctions

There is variable evidence in relation to financial sanctions and their effectiveness with regards changing behaviour and improving people‟s ability to gain and sustain full employment. If it is effective in moving people to employment, this employment is generally poorer quality, temporary or unstable (Joseph Rowntree Foundation 2010). Within the Church Action on Poverty et al report „Time to rethink Benefit Sanctions 2014, they analysed national statistics to ascertain whether or not sanctions get people into work. It was noted that recent UK data indicates, „for every 100 sanctions imposed, 42 people will leave benefits but only 7 will enter work. There is not a clear picture of how the 35 leave benefit manage financially‟. Also there is „over a million people are unemployed and not claiming benefits (see Baumberg 2012)

In 2016, Thrive presented evidence and testimonies to a team of law students at Durham University’s Human Rights Centre. The evidence presented fed into the: Benefit Sanction’s in the North East of England: Parallel Report to the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights for the Examination of the United Kingdom’s 6th periodic report (April 2016). You can access the report here Ben Warwick report

‘Concluding Observations’ issued at the United Nations in Geneva on the 4th June produced after broad consultation with more than 115

civil society organisations, and a constructive dialogue with a delegation sent by the UK, Scottish, and Welsh governments.

The UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights calls upon the UK – in the strongest possible terms – to revisit a number of its social security policies. It notes that it is ‘deeply concerned’ by some of the changes that have been made in recent years. The current system of welfare conditionality („benefit sanctions‟) is singled out for attention. Two aspects – the „extent‟ of sanctioning, and the „absence of due process and access to justice‟ – are condemned by the independent expert members of the Committee (para 40).

The Committee‟s comments, and indeed the Committee itself, are grounded in international law; the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (to which the UK voluntarily became a party in 1976). As such, these recommendations effectively put the UK „on notice‟ and act as a warning to all parts of the UK State (but especially central government), that it is likely to be violating international law

Empowering Sanctioned Claimants 2 year project report can be accessed by clicking Here and Summary report Here


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Debt on Teesside: Pathways to Financial £nclusion, Peer support workshops Promoting Posative household experiencing high...

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Debt on Teesside:
Pathways to Financial £nclusion

The Debt on Teesside project worked with low income households experiencing unmanageable debt. The action research project matched households with volunteer mentors, supporting positive change away from high cost credit choices towards more financially sustainable alternatives. The research element of this project aimed to explore what factors shape and/or constrain financial choices and to examine the impact of mentoring on behavioural and attitudinal change and choices around money management. Both quantitative and qualitative methods were used to examine the research questions. The views and experiences of a wider range of people experiencing poverty and debt were explored through focus groups and community based action and campaigns were developed based on issues raised by the research.

The project started on May 1, 2011, as a partnership between Durham University’s Centre for Social Justice and Community Action and community organisation, Thrive (a project of Church Action on Poverty) based in Thornaby. An Advisory Group supporting the project was put in place and met on a quarterly basis. Members of the Advisory Group comprised representatives from: Stockton District Advice and Information Centre, Fabrick Housing; a local Credit Union, other local community organisations and academics from Teesside and Durham Universities.

The following reports and additional information can be accessed by clicking on the links below:

The full report Debt on Teesside: Pathways to Financial Inclusion can be accessed here

Debt on Teesside – Research briefing

Case Studies Here

Community Toolkit Final Here

Following developments in the field of high-cost credit, included: new Financial Conduct Authority regulations; legislation to introduce a cap on the charges for highcost, short-term credit; bans by several NE local authorities on payday loan advertising; and the further expansion of credit unions. Yet, it was felt, still more action was needed to stop the growth of predatory lending and provide support and viable alternatives for people who find themselves locked into a spiral of unmanageable debt. In particular, issues that continuously need to be explored include: the latest thinking on viable low-cost alternatives to payday loans; new roles for local authorities, third sector organisations and the banking sector in tackling the high-cost credit problem; and the place of community-based money mentoring and how it works. Thrive co-hosted an event with the Centre for Social Justice and Community Action, Durham University – Tackling the Personal Debt Crisis in the North East which provided an opportunity to take stock of issues in the North East and examine the potential for further developments in national and local policy and practice.

Two briefing papers were launched at the event: Click to View/download

Thrive have worked hard to support people in our community offering money mentor support in these times of welfare cuts...

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Building Financial Resilience

Money Mentoring in the Community – an uphill battle

Thrive have worked hard to support people in our community offering money mentor support in these times of welfare cuts, austerity measures... and negative publicity campaigns. Demonizing the poor, „blaming the individual‟, severe cuts to entitlements and the delays in benefit decisions have led to money mentoring becoming more and more like crisis management.

With funding support from a number of funders over the past 3 years including Henry Smiths, Middlesbrough Welfare Reform and the Nash FoundationThrive have been able to deliver a much needed money mentor project in the community

The need for money mentoring projects is clearly evident: unmanageable debt is increasing in the NE. People living in low-income households are isolated, struggle financially to keep warm/feed themselves and are disengaged from services to help them financially. Further austerity measures – the cap on benefits and changes to tax credits are creating further despair for those who already struggling to get by.

Thrive responds to these difficulties through taking action to affect changes and offering community based mentoring schemes. Community based mentoring offers holistic support, building peoples' confidence to tackle their debt problems without creating dependency This project is building the confidence, capacity, knowledge and skills of people living in debt, enabling them to take control of their lives and manage their finances.

The practicalities of delivering the service over the past 12 months has proved challenging. Many money mentoring sessions have responded to crisis situations – making referrals to foodbanks, attempting to negotiate with bailiffs, spending hours on the phone with the DWP chasing up benefit decisions, thus leaving very little time to work with households in order to build their confidence and capacity. Setting savings targets, budgeting and reviewing spending habits has been unattainable. Data collated from households, evidences many households are extremely resilient. However, if the household income has been severely reduced and additional costs have been incurred from Welfare Reform measures and rising costs of living – making that limited income stretch even further has proved too difficult and consequently led the household to a crisis situation. Feedback

Feedback from the community suggests that court summons, bailiff threats, the length of time taken to make benefit decisions and sanctions have made difficult situations unbearable.

Thrive continue to raise awareness of people living in financial circumstances and have worked very closely with families to increase their income and reduce their expenditure. Over the past 3 years – benefit take up for households in Teesside has been over £80,000 – entitled money to households they may have otherwise not received. Debt and arrears have been negotiated with a high proportion of households, ensuring they have affordable repayments and are in the process of moving from high cost credit lenders

We must continue to address the issues that keep people living in poverty and address local practices that exacerbate the situation. It is time to rethink how we support our community and how we deal with spiralling debt and arrears. Court summons, delays in benefit decisions, sanctions and rising costs of living are not the way forward.

This money mentor project works with the most excluded and vulnerable groups who are subject to problem debt, and who have low levels of savings, low income and lack of financial resources. Typically the people we work with are: lone parents, from disadvantaged communities, either unemployed or in insecure part time work, already in debt, and using pre-payment meters, and have poor mental health.

Jane’s story

I have been finding it difficult to manage with the money I have coming into the house. I was paying £45 a month for a landline phone, £40 a month for a mobile that was so old I couldn’t really do anything with it..my gas and electric bills were unmanageable and due to a relationship breakdown my tax credits have been all over the place, resulting in an overpayment of over £200 I have to pay back. I also have to now pay bedroom tax, a contribution to council tax and am pressured by the job centre to work more hours. I currently work less than 16 hours a week due to circumstance beyond my control. I am trying hard to keep on top of thigs and provide for my daughter…but it is hard

We can’t afford holidays or trips away…buying a school uniform or keeping up with the costs of social groups and activities for my daughter is impossible. The government don’t help, they just seem to make things more difficult for us…just when you think you are getting on top of things, they hit you with something else. I am really scared of what will happen when Universal Credit affects me

Thrive have been great.. they have helped me sort out my phone bills and talked to the Tax Credit office to agree how I can repay what I ow. Talking to officials on a phone is so stressful, I get very anxious and could not do this on my own Thrive have also introduced me to other who are in similar situations.. I often speak out about the difficulties I face on the local radio and feel passionate about this. We should not just accept what is happening to us, but take action and speak out about how hard it is for us. We are not scroungers, just people who are doing their best to improve their lives and look after their families. I do a lot of charity work and try to give back to the community in other ways.

The following resources are available to use if you are working with people living in financial difficulty:



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More often than not, people facing financial hardship and benefit dependent are portrayed in the media in a negative manner...

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Inspiring Voices

... Benefit Street and other programmes aired are not helping and demonising the most vulnerable in our society. Programmes are more concerned with exploiting people for the sake of entertainment and playing to the negative stereotypes in deprived communities as opposed to highlighting the difficulties they face. They never concentrate on people who have been made unemployed through no fault of their own, disabled people, vulnerable people who are unable to battle through the over-complicated and deliberately awkward benefits claiming process such as special needs individual or those who have never been faced with having to fill in deplorably convoluted claim forms before and are undoubtedly contributing to an erroneous image of what 'Austerity' will achieve.

Thrive’s involvement in a number of media programme continue to evidence how the voices and stories of people can be the most powerful means of challenging public attitudes to the daily plight faced by people facing financial hardship. These projects also show people’s positive attributes, skills, innovation and added value given willingly to their communities.

Volunteers and speakers are currently developing their skills and confidence to bring Thrive projects to life. Progress updates will be available by accessing our website and Facebook page or for more information, please contact the office on 01642 678811.

#WeAreAllDanielBlake

Ken Loach’s I, Daniel Blake tells the story of 59 year old joiner, Daniel and Katie, a young mother, caught up in the web of the uncaring benefits’ system, played out against the rhetoric of ‘striver and skiver’ in modern day Britain.

I, Daniel Blake JobCenter Protest

Thrive were out in Stockton campaigning against the unfair sanction’s regime hoping to spark a national debate and build public support for a fairer social security system for people in and out of work

Poverty Walk Billingham To Thornaby

Some text about the walk

Flyer.pdf

Thrive Sanctions Event 2016

Following a 2 year project funded by Comic Relief, Thrive present their findings and recommendations to address the unfair sanctions regime

Reports can be accessed by clicking Empowering Sanctioned Claimants 2 year project report or Summary report

The Paper Plate Campaign

Thrive involved in a Stockton Community Conversation asking, ‘what does the government need to do to end hunger in the UK?’

Hustings Event

Thrive facilitated hustings events prior to the elections in 2015. Election candidates were afforded the time to outline their intentions if elected and responded to questions raised by local people

GET INVOLVED!

Thrive have a variety of opportunities whereby you can get involved, seek support and affect change. Click on any of the images below to find out more about how you can get involved. Alternatively, contact Thrive to get more information and chat to a member of staff

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Community organising is the work of building relationships and networks in communities to activate people and create social and political change through collective action

For some time now, the government has invested millions of pounds in attempting to get the voices of those on the margins of society involved in decisions which affect their lives. People out of work, people living in poverty with high levels of debt, people suffering health inequalities and most importantly, those who are not used to having their voice heard, are the members of society who have most to gain from being involved in these decisions. However, the government has failed to bring these voices to the table. All we get are ‘the usual suspects’: People who mean well but ultimately aren’t victims of predatory lending, aren’t out of the labour market, aren’t seeking asylum and who are used to speaking out for themselves.

Thrive is a Community Organising project working in Stockton-on-Tees. Thrive’s unique selling point is its success, through various means and methods, in bringing these people, the ‘unusual suspects’, in to the game. People who are no strangers to poverty and hardship, and having things done ‘to’ and ‘for’ them in their communities. By contrast, Thrive has created the space to challenge hard-to-reach groups to take control of their own communities and livelihoods. It is quickly building up a reputation for creating community leaders and spectacular wins against the odds, including tackling a £70m lending company.

Please have a look at our Action Book which illustrates some of our past campaign work

"Thrive has allowed the dormant me to blossom again, even though the problems of life have not changed I feel valued and confident enough to enter full life again."

- Thrive beneficiary

Challenging the rent to own sector

Thrive beneficiaries challenged a £70m company charging high interest rates for its products in the poorest parts of Stockton. In a finely tuned campaign to increase pressure on the company, the customers and Thrive team bravely used a variety of means to make positive change, including the posting of an online spoof advert (see ripofftv.net), a national press expose article and a coordinated email and telephone campaign. As a direct result of this pressure from Thrive, the Chief Executive, Mr. Clarke, and senior management of the company came from across the UK to meet delegates from Thrive, including long-term Buy As You View Customers.

Mr Clarke listened with a great deal of respect and interest to the customers on the well-researched recommendations and demands they had made on this important but complex matter. In fact, in what was a very productive meeting, Mr Clarke also shared many of the same concerns as thrive in relation to not only his own company, which he is now working with Thrive to address, but the industry as a whole. In light of the recent findings of the Office of Fair Trading on its investigation into the $7.5 billion home credit industry, this was a significant and powerful action initiated by Thrive and the brave group of customers whose actions could have a significant impact on 100,000‟s of low-income households.

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Join Us

Thrive are offering support to people who live in Stockton. We have a group, who meet up on a weekly basis (Tuesdays 10-12), for an informal chat with free refreshments.

This project will provide opportunities to help improve livelihoods and build skills, networks, experience and confidence, thus enabling them to move closer towards the labour market and take action against areas of social injustice. Click on the activities button to view more.

You will be offered mentor support sessions and the opportunity to come together and develop a networking, support and build an action group to tackle current issues.

If you live Stockton and would like to know more, please get in touch with Tracey or Coy on 01642 678811 for a chat.

budgeting on a low income, dealing with debt and money management
confidence building
writing a CV
building pathways to employment and overcoming barriers
volunteering: placements and opportunities: including arranging workplace visits
Taking action against areas of social injustice - speaking out
Developing a media project
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Civic

Engagement

Thrive have secured funding from Esmee Fairbairn to help increase the number of women in Teesside participating in Thrive’s Civic Engagement programme


As depicted in the charts above, 34% of the voting population in the UK do not vote – a higher majority than either of the 2 leading parties Statistics published in January 2015, showed that 390,000 women living in the North east did not vote in the 2010 elections.

People living in deprived areas of Stockton-on-Tees are less likely to vote at local and general elections. Analysis of the data showed that differences in voting turn-out (May 2015) were as much as 27.53% between wards of advantage and disadvantage: Hartburn, 75.9%, Yarm, 75.2%, Newtown 48.7% and Stockton Town Centre, 48.47%

Consultation with community members living in wards of disadvantage highlighted reasons such as: ‘why bother voting, it won’t make any difference’, ‘they {the government} are gonna do what they want whether I vote or not’, ‘I don’t know enough about it …so I probably shouldn’t even try to work out who is best’ and, ‘they don’t care about us, my vote won’t change anything’ Of those we spoke to had voted, a high percentage stated that they voted for, ‘who their father had suggested’.

Although much has been achieved for women’s equality, there is still much to be done. Progressive legislation has supported the move towards equality, but recent policies ‘have tilted sharply against women: 85% of recent cuts came from women’s pockets. Women were the heaviest losers from the million lost public sector jobs – good jobs replaced with low-wage agency work. Women suffered most in cuts to services for the old and children, and were hardest hit by benefit cuts and freezes. Ruthless benefit sanctions have hit women worst as they try to juggle children and jobseeking rules and are cut off when they refuse shift work’ The Guardian 17 April 2015

Pay gap has widened nationally for the first time in 10 years, with women earning and average 19.1% less than men. In the North East, women are earning £18 per week less than in 2010 if you factor in the cost of living. In addition, nearly 30% of women earn less than the living wage, making it one of the worst areas in the country for women’s pay,

The rationale for encouraging women to participate and engage with the democratic process is to create discussion and debate in order to continue to raise awareness of the issues faced by women and help them improve their lives by being able to vote for members of Parliament who could change their situation

As noted on www.votingcounts.org.uk

“It is an unfortunate truth that politicians will sometimes look at voter turnout before making key policy decisions. If a certain demographics’ turnout is high then politicians may be more likely to make policy that benefits that demographic in order to please them and subsequently win their votes from other parties or retain their support.”

Furthermore, Electoral Reform Society Chief Executive, Katie Ghose, highlights, ‘women are more likely to make up their minds later than men, giving the parties an extra incentive to reach out to women right up until close of polls. A last minute battle for their votes would be a fine thing’

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Poverty Truth Commission

“What if people living in poverty could take the lead on challenging the city’s leaders to work with them on tackling poverty? Would it make a difference to the decisions that are being made? Would new solutions to poverty be discovered? Would people listen and, if they did, would they better understand the challenges that poverty brings?”

The Joseph Rowntree Foundation is supporting 15 Poverty Truth Commissions throughout England and initial meetings have been taking place in Stockton to assess the feasibility of a Truth Commission here in the Borough. To date, this is the first expression of interest from the NE. There is hope that these Commissions will come together and become part of a movement to address issues of poverty and inequality

From our work in the community and discussions with Andrew Grinnell, Leeds Poverty Truth Commission, it is becoming ever more apparent that a Poverty Truth Commission may best serve our community Commissions bring together key decision makers with those living at the sharp end of poverty

The work carried out in Glasgow and Leeds have evidenced the benefits of having a Poverty Truth Commission. Please see http://www.leedspovertytruth.org.uk and www.faithincommunityscotland.org for further information.

To follow our progress, keep in touch with us via twitter or facebook

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Speak Out And Share Your Story

Do you have a story you would like to share? We want to hear from you and if we can help, we will. Your personal information will remain private at all times..

From The job center to the local council, from sanctions to council tax arears. No matter the story we will listen and offer our story too. Just having that other person who has had the same experiences as you could help in building a collective of people who can help change the way we understand what is happening and why. Come share your story with us.

The focus is on the idividual and as a whole the effects government changes have had on our lives and offers a way to voice frustraions or identify with each others stories to help create a solution or at the very least try to understand what has happened.

If you want to submit an article or ‘tell your story’, please email Tracey Herrington at traceyherrington@thrive-teesside.org.uk or ring the office for help to write your article on 01642 678811


Thrive Media

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Voices From the Margins text is here


Teesside Weekender

Teesside Weekender text is here


Episodes will air every Friday on the YouTube channel on the left. We want your voice to be heard, real people with ordinary lives. If you would like to get involved and even star in your very own episode, feel free to contact us on the methods at the bottom of each page or check out the contacts section to find where we are.

2016

2017

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Stockton GoggleBox 2016

Stockton Gogglebox Episode 12- Kost Of Kicks (PTC)

Published on 16 Dec 2016

WATCH THE ORIGINAL VIDEO HERE- https://vimeo.com/114057613 This is the eleventh episode of our new mini series, based around the people of Stockton, watching and reacting to a varied mix of television programmes ranging from Political debates to more light entertainment like Britain’s Got Talent. The aim of this media project is to engage people in Stockton with politics, poverty and injustice and get their views and opinions on different political issues, and also for a bit of fun!

Stockton Gogglebox Episode 11- Honey G (The X Factor)

Published on 18 Nov 2016

WATCH THE ORIGINAL VIDEO HERE: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OS6fR... This is the eleventh episode of our new mini series, based around the people of Stockton, watching and reacting to a varied mix of television programmes ranging from Political debates to more light entertainment like Britain’s Got Talent. The aim of this media project is to engage people in Stockton with politics, poverty and injustice and get their views and opinions on different political issues, and also for a bit of fun!

Stockton Gogglebox Episode 10- Benefit Cap Changes

Published on 12 Nov 2016

WATCH THE ORIGINAL VIDEO HERE: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HL69O... This is the tenth episode of our new mini series, based around the people of Stockton, watching and reacting to a varied mix of television programmes ranging from Political debates to more light entertainment like Britain’s Got Talent. The aim of this media project is to engage people in Stockton with politics, poverty and injustice and get their views and opinions on different political issues, and also for a bit of fun!

Stockton Gogglebox Episode 9- Poor Kids

Published on 27 Oct 2016

WATCH THE ORIGINAL VIDEO HERE: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i9aSp... This is the ninth episode of our new mini series, based around the people of Stockton, watching and reacting to a varied mix of television programmes ranging from Political debates to more light entertainment like Britain’s Got Talent. The aim of this media project is to engage people in Stockton with politics, poverty and injustice and get their views and opinions on different political issues, and also for a bit of fun!

Stockton Gogglebox Episode 8- I, Daniel Blake

Published on 27 Sep 2016

This is the eighth episode of our new mini series, based around the people of Stockton, watching and reacting to a varied mix of television programmes ranging from Political debates to more light entertainment like Britain’s Got Talent. The aim of this media project is to engage people in Stockton with politics, poverty and injustice and get their views and opinions on different political issues, and also for a bit of fun!

Stockton Gogglebox Episode 7- Housing Crisis

Published on 16 Sep 2016

This is the seventh episode of our new mini series, based around the people of Stockton, watching and reacting to a varied mix of television programmes ranging from Political debates to more light entertainment like Britain’s Got Talent. The aim of this media project is to engage people in Stockton with politics, poverty and injustice and get their views and opinions on different political issues, and also for a bit of fun!

Stockton Gogglebox Episode 6- This Morning Plus Size Debate

Published on 12 Aug 2016

This is the sixth episode of our new mini series, based around the people of Stockton, watching and reacting to a varied mix of television programmes ranging from Political debates to more light entertainment like Britain’s Got Talent. The aim of this media project is to engage people in Stockton with politics, poverty and injustice and get their views and opinions on different political issues, and also for a bit of fun!

Stockton Gogglebox Episode 5- Dennis Skinner calls David Cameron 'Dodgy Dave'

Published on 5 Aug 2016

This is the fifth episode of our new mini series, based around the people of Stockton, watching and reacting to a varied mix of television programmes ranging from Political debates to more light entertainment like Britain’s Got Talent. The aim of this media project is to engage people in Stockton with politics, poverty and injustice and get their views and opinions on different political issues, and also for a bit of fun!

Episode #4

This is the fourth episode of our new mini series, based around the people of Stockton, watching and reacting to a varied mix of television programmes ranging from Political debates to more light entertainment like Britain’s Got Talent. The aim of this media project is to engage people in Stockton with politics, poverty and injustice and get their views and opinions on different political issues, and also for a bit of fun!

Episode #3

This is the third episode of our new mini series, based around the people of Stockton, watching and reacting to a varied mix of television programmes ranging from Political debates to more light entertainment like Britain’s Got Talent. The aim of this media project is to engage people in Stockton with politics, poverty and injustice and get their views and opinions on different political issues, and also for a bit of fun!

We want your voice to be heard, real people with ordinary lives. If you would like to get involved and even star in your very own episode, feel free to contact us-

Episode #2

This is the second episode of our new mini series, based around the people of Stockton, watching and reacting to a varied mix of television programmes ranging from Political debates to more light entertainment like Britain’s Got Talent. The aim of this media project is to engage people in Stockton with politics, poverty and injustice and get their views and opinions on different political issues, and also for a bit of fun! Episodes will air every Friday on this YouTube channel We want your voice to be heard, real people with ordinary lives. If you would like to get involved and even star in your very own episode, feel free to contact us-

Episode #1 The Speech

Published on 1 Jul 2016

This is the first episode of our new mini series, based around the people of Stockton, watching and reacting to a varied mix of television programmes ranging from Political debates to more light entertainment like Britain’s Got Talent. The aim of this media project is to engage people in Stockton with politics, poverty and injustice and get their views and opinions on different political issues, and also for a bit of fun!

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Stockton GoggleBox 2017

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