photo of a homeless man sleeping near a cardboard sign

Focus On Tackling Poverty & Improving Wellbeing In Wakefield

Services that are helping to tackle poverty in the Wakefield district take centre stage in this year’s Public Health Annual Report.

The report highlights how the Council and its partners are working with communities and residents to address the challenges that the district faces, with services that are tailored to make a positive impact on people’s lives, and recommendations on how to continue this work.

Cabinet members meeting on Tuesday 13 December will be asked to endorse the report.

The document is part of Building a Fairer Future – Wakefield’s plan for making the district an even better place to live. It sets out ambitions around five priority areas, including healthier and better lives, thriving children and families, and an economy that works for everyone.

People living in poverty are likely to have poorer physical and mental health than those who are better off financially, so the Council is developing services that help to address this.

Anna Hartley, Wakefield’s Director of Public Health said: “Many people experience financial difficulties or have worries about money at some point in their lives. For some its relatively short term, and people overcome the challenges experienced, however, for too many people the issues and worries are a prominent feature of their lives and there is an impact on their health and wellbeing, which we want to play our part in helping to tackle.”

With wages lower than the national average in the Wakefield district, the Council has worked with its partners to create a range of services including More Money in My Pocket, offering wide range financial and benefits advice, as well as help with the cost-of-living crisis, that can be accessed in a variety of ways including Help at the Hubs based in communities.”

Other aspects that the Council is working with partners on includes fuel poverty, food poverty, transport, employment, and housing, which all impact on the quality of people’s lives.

Cllr Maureen Cummings, Cabinet Member for Communities, Adults and Health said: “As we look to the start of 2023, we have more people than ever before being pushed into poverty by the cost-of-living crisis. The inextricable link between poverty and health means that what is happening now could have an impact on the health and wellbeing of an entire generation. A crippling cycle of low income which contributes to poor health and poor health that can also then contribute to lower income.”

“We are here to help and support residents and communities, with commitment to reducing the impact poverty on those affected now and trying to prevent poverty in the future.”

The Council is working with people at all stages of their lives, with services that aim to make a long-term difference to all ages.

Families in the district, that are eligible, are benefitting from the Imagination Library, a book gifting scheme which delivers a book each month to home from birth to the child’s fourth birthdays. This helps to promote a life- long love of books and of learning, with studies showing reading helps young children’s brain development, and helps prepare them for school.

Another example is the Happy Healthy Holidays scheme, that enables children in low-income families, who receive free school meals to take part in activities over the school holidays, that promote fun and wellbeing.

Other services include advice for older adults on pension credits to ensure they are getting any benefits they’re entitled to claim.

Click here to read the full report. The Cabinet meeting is on Tuesday 13 December at 10.30am. The meeting can be watched live or later on the Council’s website.