Trafford Poverty Truth Commission begins

On Friday October 8th 2021, Trafford’s first Poverty Truth Commission hosted an Engagement Event at Stretford Public Hall.

The event brought together over 60 people from local businesses, community and faith groups and council members. The event provided an opportunity to hear more about what the Poverty Truth Commission is and how it wishes to work with the local community to tackle poverty in the borough.

Cllr Graham Whitham, Executive Member for Communities and Partnerships, explained how the borough has a huge discrepancy when it comes to wealth. As a result, the Council is keen to tackle the issues as part of its current agenda.

‘We introduced a one-year poverty strategy at the beginning of this year. It’s the first time that we’ve had an anti-poverty strategy in Trafford for many years. So, it’s a real marker for us as a Council in terms of our commitment to addressing the issue of poverty,’ he said.

Next up to speak were the inspiring team from Manchester Poverty Truth Commission who finished their Commission in July of this year. Speaker Stef Benstead was a Community Comissioner in Manchester and shared her story about living with a chonic illness. She explained how the Commission gave her a platform to explain what it’s really like to live within the disability benefit system. She felt that the experience of being a Commissioner offered a chance to be listened to by the city’s decision makers.

Stef was followed by Anna Bishop, Civic Commissioner in the Manchester Poverty Truth Commission, and Chief Operating Officer of One Manchester, who explained the benefits of being part of the Commission. She explained how being part of the Commission helped her to be more thoughtful when approaching problem-solving.

Lizzie Bassford from the Poverty Truth Network explained how impactful and beneficial Commissions are to local communities:

‘We believe that together, the group will come up with far better solutions and ideas if we sit with the problems for longer… and this means that sometimes being part of a Poverty Truth Comission is actually really uncomfortable. That’s why investing in relationships and building trust with one other is so important. Without uncomfortable conversations we won’t face the reality and make the changes that we really need to make in order to make everyone in our community thrive,’ she added.

The event was closed by Claire Vibert, a member of the Trafford Poverty Truth Commission Team. Along with Kate Harding and Carlene Thomas-Bailey, Claire is facilitating the Poverty Truth Commission in Trafford.

Anyone who wants more information about getting involved in Trafford Poverty Truth Commission can contact the team at