Swansea Poverty Truth Commission logo graphicOn Tuesday 30th April people gathered at the Dylan Thomas Centre in Swansea to celebrate the conclusion of Swansea Poverty Truth Commission (SPTC).

This innovative approach - which saw people with lived experience of poverty brought together with leaders from the civic and business community to spend some 18 months getting to grips with local challenges associated with poverty - has been delivered for the first time in Wales. The model was developed in Scotland, and has previously been successfully implemented in many locations in England.

SPTC conclusion event Apr 24Swansea Council for Voluntary Service (SCVS) hosted the Commission with support from many key partners locally, notably Swansea Council, Coastal Housing and Swansea Bay University Health Board. Thanks were also given at the event to the Austin Bailey Foundation and the Welsh Church Act Fund.

The event was a colourful, varied and interactive reflection of the commission process, and showcase of ongoing and future work. 
It highlighted the relationship-building which took place between commissioners over many months, and the importance of listening to understand the problem fully before discussing solutions. Civic and Business Commissioners shared some of the positive impacts they had experienced, both personally and professionally.

The recommendations of the Commission were revealed, and enthused participants were invited to pledge support for taking this work forward. 

SPTC legacy piece DSThe event concluded with the unveiling of a stunning piece of pyrography artwork produced by one of the Community Commissioners, depicting imagery and phrases resonant with the commission itself. The art will be placed on display in the workplaces of the Civic and Business Commissioners, to draw attention to the legacy of the first Poverty Truth Commission in Wales.

The team explained that as each Poverty Truth Commission is unique, shaped and directed by the shared experiences of its participants, there is great value in repeating the process and exploring different issues, if funding can be secured. SCVS will be exploring this possibility over the coming months.

The team at SCVS will now be writing a comprehensive final report, producing case studies and other resources, reflecting on the learning from the first commission and supporting those organisations seeking to respond to the recommendations.  

Further details will be available on the SPTC section of the SCVS website very soon – www.scvs.org.uk/swansea-ptc 

Also at the event:

A training resource created by the UK-wide Poverty Truth Network was shared, with warm acknowledgement of the contribution of Swansea’s commissioners to its development. The tool, which is being piloted by institutions training social workers and other professionals, tells animated stories of the “Double Impact” of poverty and mental health. Contact the Swansea Poverty Truth Commission team at SCVS for a copy.  

The Wales Centre for Public Policy were pleased to announce a new collaboration with Swansea Council, SCVS and some members of the Commission, examining how public bodies can tackle the stigma associated with poverty. Cllr Rob Stewart, Leader of Swansea Council, confirmed a commitment to implement the Commission’s “Charter for Rehumanising Systems & Services”, and asked, “What about a second commission?”