14th May, 2021

Young to get new ‘health champion’

Rob George 26th Mar, 2021

COUNCIL chiefs have revealed a Young Person’s Champion will be appointed top put issues such as child poverty, youth employment and young people’s well-being at the heart of future decision-making.

The decision, which was made following a motion presented by Coun Joy Squires last month, will see all future City Council policies and decisions assessed for their impact on children and young people.

The move reflects growing concern about emerging inequalities faced by young people in the city.

A report on Child Poverty presented to councillors last week stated in 2019/20, 22 per cent of households with children were living in absolute poverty – where household income is insufficient to cover the necessities of life – before housing costs.

A further 30 per cent of households with children were living in absolute poverty after housing costs, according to the report. The figures have increased 3.3 per cent and 2 per cent respectively since 2016/17

“Worcester City Council is responsible for the delivery of major future investments such as the £17.9million High Street Fund and potential £28million Towns Fund,” said Coun James Stanley, chair of Worcester City Council’s Communities Committee.

“These present big opportunities to address inequalities by ensuring they will create more jobs, better educational opportunities and engaging leisure facilities for young people, supporting their long-term prospects, health and well-being.”

“The COVID pandemic has not only impacted on our young people’s education, job prospects and well-being; it has also exposed pre-existing inequalities in our city,” said Coun Lynn Denham, vice chair of the committee.

“By putting children at the heart of the City Council’s decision-making, we can start to take action to reverse inequalities and improve life chances for all our young people.”

The Communities Committee will work with the Young Person’s Champion to implement actions to combat child poverty. These include ensuring health inequalities resulting from child poverty are fully addressed in the new Worcestershire Health and Wellbeing Strategy; continuation of support to struggling families through the Worcester City Discretionary Welfare Assistance Scheme and setting up new community allotments and gardens to help address food poverty.

The Young Person’s Champion appointment will be announced later in the year.

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