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Learn from local experience at Child Poverty in Western Cities event


How do we identify and tackle child poverty in the cities of the west? One way is by learning from local projects that have already galvanised communities.

Some of these examples will provide a fascinating insight for child professionals when they descend on the United Kingdom for the forthcoming international seminar Child Poverty in Western Cities.

You now have just two weeks to book your place for this important event in Leeds, when children’s rights experts and policymakers come together.

‘Fascinating insight for child professionals’

The two-day seminar combines presentations from a host of high-profile keynote speakers with interactive sessions outlining theories and definitions of child poverty in the west, how it affects young people and their families. Also highlighted, crucially, will be how multidisciplinary working can tackle some of the underlying causes.

Organised by the Child in the City Foundation in partnership with the City of Leeds, the event covers five sub-themes: Child poverty and children’s agencies; child poverty and educational environments; child poverty – urban segregation and marginalisation; addressing child poverty in multidisciplinary ways; and child poverty – lessons from Dortmund and Madrid.

Key speakers include Andy Lloyd, head of children’s workforce development in Leeds Children’s Services (read our Q&A feature), and Ayushi Rawat, from the University of Delhi (Q&A here).

‘Show delegates example of local projects’

A notable feature of the event is a series of field trips that have been organised to show delegates some examples of how local initiatives are, in their own way, tackling the issue of child poverty in western cities.

One such project is Catch, a charity based in the east of Leeds, an area which has high levels of poverty, overcrowding and a migrant population. Aimed at youths, it provides services and volunteering opportunities for youngsters aged 11 and over in a modern, safe, youth-oriented space.

The project began in February 2010 when police officer Ash Razzaq was working for the Gipton and Harehills Neighbourhood Policing Team in Leeds. During his foot patrols he came across an area of wasteland in between two school. For the past few years, it had become a haven for anti-social behaviour, including drug-taking and fly-tipping.

Ash was inspired to start a clean-up operation, and so he enlisted the help of policing colleagues, schools, young people, businesses and the wider community. CATCH formally became a community group in January 2011, comprising police officers, school staff and members of the community.

‘Provide and develop safe spaces’

“Our goal is to interact with adults and young people from all backgrounds, to offer them opportunities that they don’t currently have and to explore positive alternatives that improve their lives,” say organisers. “We will work with other groups and agencies in Leeds to make a greater impact towards community safety. We will achieve this by continuing to provide and develop safe spaces for recreation, education and leisure time activities.”

It has since grown to the status of a registered charity, working closely with the local authority, launching building projects, establishing a youth club, and services for adults. Since September 2016, a refurbished building has been launched as the ‘ARK’, a community and youth centre including a community cafe. Visit the website for more details about CATCH.

This is just one of many local examples of how proactive communities are getting creative when looking at how they can tackle the underlying causes of child poverty in a western city like Leeds.

Child Poverty in Western Cities, part of the wider Child in the City World Conference Series – is being held at the Met Hotel Leeds from 21-22 November. Visit the dedicated website for more details of how to book or email Marieke Bouman, Event Manager, at

Author: Simon Weedy

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