On Tuesday 28th January, NISR Director Professor Mark Shucksmith gave the following presentation at The January Conference: Developing a Stronger Voice for the NE, held at the Centre for Life in Newcastle upon Tyne. The conference, supported by the Community Foundation, ippr north, Millfield House Foundation, Northern Rock Foundation and the Webb Memorial Trust, was focused around issues of citizen action and community organising in the NE. This presentation offered some context for those discussions.
What can the people of the North East themselves do to ensure that the region’s best days lie ahead, and not in the past? At a time when the region faces severe cutbacks in its public services and public investment, while the balance of the national economy shifts ever further toward the south-east (whatever is said about rebalancing), can we think of new ways forward?
Jonathan Mayes, Newcastle University Medical Student and overall winner of the NISR General Election Manifesto Competition, writes this blog on his proposal and why he felt compelled to try and tackle the problems associated with childhood poverty. You can contact Jonny with any thoughts or feedback you have by emailing: firstname.lastname@example.org.
After receiving an email about entering the competition I initially dismissed the idea. The idea of extra work didn’t appeal. However I saw an NSPCC statistic saying 31% of children in Newcastle are growing up in poverty. I didn’t know what this meant. What does it mean to be in poverty in the UK? I assumed that in a developed country that this statistic has no meaning. However I was shocked to discover poverty in the UK means growing up cold, hungry and not being able to enjoy activities with friends. Poverty impacts on health, educational opportunities and reduces self-esteem.