This was a one-day conference organised by Bradford and District Anti-Poverty Group, the University of Liverpool and the Children's Society.

Cathy from Wellsprings attended this conference, this is her report: 

We heard from Hope Rising, an inspirational group of "experts by experience" who are families living in poverty. Hearing their lived experiences of struggling to raise a family when relying on benefits, being hit by benefit caps, struggling to make ends meet, and like all of us wanting their children to not feel left out and to have opportunities to develop. It was a very emotional session, hard for them to speak at a conference, but that made it very hard hitting and at the same time lovely to see how the group supported each other.

This was followed by workshops – I chose the "experts by experience", learning more about what different groups have done to include people with experience of poverty to influence and inform their work. This currently isn’t something that Feeding Bradford is doing directly – so it was interesting to learn more.

Tracy Jensen was the keynote speaker of the afternoon from the University of Lancaster, she spoke about how the concept of large families has changed – 3 is now a large family, and how some large families are celebrated – the Royals and celebrities, but others who are struggling are vilified by the media. This has been a historic change – people were encouraged to claim family allowance for example, as it was acknowledged that larger families needed support whereas now larger families are far more likely to be in poverty as tax credits and benefits are reduced. All this at a time of a demographic crisis with an ageing population and a need for younger workers in the population.

The final round of workshops included one from Born in Bradford – as Feeding Bradford is involved in holiday hunger schemes to support families struggling to provide food for their children in the school holiday, I thought it would be good to find out if there are points of linkage. Born in Bradford collect data on children’s educational attainment – it would be good to see if there was a way of producing hard evidence of how good holiday schemes with food and activities help to reduce or eliminate the drop in educational attainment that children seem to suffer who have had holidays doing nothing and eating poorly.
 
Cathy