What if people living at the sharp end of poverty could take the lead on calling civic and business leaders in the city to work with them on developing and delivering solutions to poverty? The Leeds Poverty Challenge is emerging as a new, independent and collaborative initiative to enable this to happen.

Drawing on the motto of the South African post-apartheid Truth and Reconciliation process – ‘nothing about us without us is for us’ – and inspired by the Scottish Poverty Truth Commission, the Leeds Poverty Challenge will be led by people with first-hand experience of poverty, working with ‘civic leaders’ in the development, delivery and evaluation of solutions.

We’ve been working over many months to shape the process, and to recruit participants. We’re now working with the participant group, looking at developing ways to articulate their experiences of poverty. We will then be going public in 2014, then supporting the participants/commissioners to work with ‘civic leaders’ and other stakeholders in the city to identify work they can tackle together. If you have any queries or ideas, please get in touch.

Watch the website for further info as it emerges: www.leedspovertytruth.org.uk.

Thanks to: the Scottish Poverty Truth Commission, Leeds Initiative, Cllr Peter Gruen (Deputy Leader of Leeds City Council), the Rt Rev John Packer (Bishop of Ripon & Leeds) – Chair and Vice Chair respectively of the Safer & Stronger Communities Board, Kathryn Fitzsimons (3rd Sector Leeds), Ann Forbes (Older People’s Forum), Cllr Ghulam Hussain, Andrew Grinnell, Dave Roberts (Financial Inclusion, Leeds City Council), and all those who’ve supported the initiative so far.