February 2016 - NewStart In Leeds

Leeds Poverty Truth Commission: Connecting the city to challenge stigma

The Leeds Poverty Truth Challenge launched in 2014 and brought together people living in poverty – testifiers – with civic and business leaders. Over a year they met regularly to confront and challenge issues around inequality that exist in the city. Here a testifier and council officer talk about the experience:

The great paradox of Leeds

It may even be that the very success of Leeds has concentrated the poverty, raised property prices, made home ownership more difficult, entrenched the difficulties of Bradford next door – the closest we get in the UK to the disastrous pattern in the US cities where success is twinned with failure next door, St Louis and East St Louis, Philadelphia and Camden, New Jersey.

‘Social’ property development challenges the current model

I’ve spent the last ten years as a co-operative property developer. Spot the building, see its potential social use (sometimes see the social need and spot the building), form the co-op, build the support, do a share issue, raise the rest of the finance, develop the building and the business with the members, then move on after three or four years, leaving the Community Benefit Society in control.