In an affluent community, for anyone to live in poverty can only be viewed as immoral and offensive.

Want to know what Wokingham Borough Council is doing to tackle poverty? Read on..

Tonight, at an Extraordinary Executive Meeting the leader of WBC was asked, “Wokingham is one of the affluent places to live, work and bring up a family. However, in certain wards 17% of children live in poverty. What strategy does the council have in place to reduce child poverty in Wokingham?”

This was his reply.

The Executive agreed the Councils approach to tackling Poverty at its meeting in January 2021 and work is underway to better understand the causes and effects for residents and families in the Borough and what we can do more of to improve outcomes for all. Child Poverty will be a key consideration and actions to reduce poverty generally in the borough will positively affect children who may be living in poverty because of their family situation. 

Regardless of whichever statutory benchmark you look at regarding poverty and hardship, Wokingham still has one of the lowest rates in the country, but even if one person or one child does not have fair and equal opportunity in our Borough that is one too many and we are committed to fighting this. 

We are already doing a lot to address this issue, we are not starting from scratch. For example, we have made good progress in addressing the drivers of poverty, through maximising affordable housing, providing good quality Council housing and addressing homelessness to ensure families and children have access to safe and secure accommodation. 

We also have a scheme in place to alleviate the impacts of Fuel Poverty.  The scheme has benefited a number of our households through energy efficiency upgrades to homes, which could save residents more than 30% of their annual fuel bills. Those savings can help improve financial security of families which will directly benefit children.  

Another example is through our out-reach work, often in partnership with the Voluntary and Community Sector, we support our residents to lead self-sustaining lifestyles, including addressing food insecurity through initiatives such as Grub Club and Social Bites which has positive benefits for children. 

Notwithstanding this positive work that has been taking place and is being strengthened in response to the pandemic, we know we can do more to ensure those who really need our support can get it.

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