Sefton conference looks at overcoming lifetime legacy of growing up in poverty

29 June 2023 5 min read

Overcoming the long-term effects of Child Poverty was the theme of a conference in Sefton today.

Opportunities to get into to higher education and the greater possibilities this can open up for young people who have grown up in poverty, were among the topics covered.


People stood around a room, which has stalls from a number of organisations in Sefton that provide support for families and young people.Reflecting this, the four Conference discussion sessions were Prospects Through Education and Skills, Cradle to Career, Prospects Through Solid Foundations in Early Years, and Prospects through Place, which covered regeneration and employment.

Over 80 invited representatives from the public and private, health, charity, voluntary sectors as well as community organisations attended the event, held at Bootle Cricket Club.

Working together

Among the speakers, was Professor Joe Yates Pro Vice Chancellor of Liverpool John Moores University who spoke about the link between those in the criminal system and childhood poverty. In his address, Professor Yates stressed the importance of working together to tackle income deprivation and ensure good childhood wellbeing, as well as listening to those with lived experience.

From Cradle to Career was the theme of a presentation by Andrea Watts, the Council’s Executive Director for People while Stephen Watson, its Executive Director for Place focused on the importance of Regeneration and Employment.

Nigel Bellamy, the Deputy Chief Executive, Sefton CVS talked about Early Years  and Sefton’s Director of Public Health Margaret Jones closed the event.

Day-to-day challenges

Cllr Trish Hardy, Sefton Council’s Cabinet Member for Communities and Housing, who opened the Conference said: “When we talk about child poverty, we tend to think of small children and the problems their families face with the day-to-day challenges of paying bills and putting food on the table.

“Almost one in six under 16s in Sefton live in relative poverty and the effects of a start living on or close to the breadline are likely to follow those 8,000-plus young people through the rest their lives.

“As well as the impact on their physical and mental health, childhood poverty results in those young people achieving lower results through education, which in turn reduces their prospects in terms of accessing higher education and well-paid work.”

Research shows that in addition to lower educational attainment, young people who have grown up in poverty miss out on the life chances and influences that from which others benefit.

Filling the opportunity gap

Cllr Moncur, Sefton Council’s Cabinet Member for Health and Wellbeing for said: “Young people who have grown up in households without the day-in-day-out pressures of poverty often have family members, friends and acquaintances who can provide inspiration and be role models, supporting and mentoring them through education, work and planning their future.

“These important influences, which can be taken for granted, are often simply not available to young people from poorer households.

Two people stood in front of a whiteboard, writing notes next to posters about childhood poverty in Sefton.“In Sefton, as well as supporting the households where young children are growing up in poverty conditions, we are working to fill that opportunity gap faced by young people.

“Last year we launched the Sefton Caring Business Charter through which businesses commit to support care experienced and other vulnerable young people access the world of work and I’m pleased to say we already have over 60 of the Borough’s businesses signed up.

“Thanks to the Charter we now regularly publish Sefton Beacon summarising opportunities for employment, work experience, mentoring, training, mock interviews, site visits and presentations aimed at those young people.”

Launched in December last year, Sefton Council’s Childhood Poverty Strategy sets out a blueprint for a local approach to tackling child poverty in Sefton, with actions linked to people’s finances, prospects, and places. This means increasing opportunity in employment and education and supporting the most vulnerable members of its communities.

Key to its aims is identifying and building upon the many areas of work contributing to helping children and their families overcome the effects of poverty, which are already making Sefton a leading Borough in this field.

Cllr Hardy added: “While we may not be able to prevent childhood poverty, we can continue doing all we can not to make it a life sentence to restricted prospects, reduced earnings and all-round lack of fulfilment that can be passed on to the next generation.

“We won’t solve the issues with this month’s event, but we can look at all the individual initiatives that are working in Sefton to see how we can pull them together better and fine tune them to ensure all our young people have the opportunities they deserve, whatever their backgrounds.”

People can find the Sefton Child Poverty Strategy on the Sefton Council website.

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