The Commission

The project so far

Commission gatherings began in April 2022 and twelve inspirational Community Commissioners formed the start of the Poverty Truth Commission. The Commissioners met together fortnightly to get to know each other over many cups of tea and coffee, to better understand the process, and share their stories and their struggles against poverty. They are already feeling “less alone”, “really listened to” and “inspired”.

The Community Commissioners designed and prepared for the public launch event in July 2022 at the Life Centre in Moordown, where a similar number of local leaders were invited to join them on the Commission as Civic/Business Commissioners.

You can watch highlights from the event here…

“I think anyone who was here today won’t forget the event in a really long time” Audience member

The power of the words from the Community Commissioners held everyone in complete silence, with half the guests with tears in their eyes, visibly moved by the truth being spoken about homelessness, addiction, abuse and the effects poverty has on an individual, their families, and their health & wellbeing.

The audience were able to participate in an activity using one of the primary principles of the PTC to ‘listen with attention, and speak with intention’, thus allowing everyone present to be heard.

The Commission then began the phase of building relationships of trust between the Community Commissioners and the Civic/Business Commissioners so that difficult conversations might happen. They have been meeting together every four/five weeks, sharing laughter and tears, and countless cups of tea. They have listened deeply to stories of poverty and inequality from the personal experiences of the Community Commissioners.

“Poverty is not a choice. It’s been one indignity after another” Debbie, Community Commissioner

Three Themes Chosen

In January 2023 The Commission reached a pivotal point as the Commissioners chose three key areas to focus on:

  • Empowered Communities
  • Humanising the Process
  • Housing & Home

In the following months the Commissioners worked in the three task groups together on their chosen themes, continuing to listen to the wisdom of the Community Commissioners. Ideas were explored, experiments undertaken and recommendations made, ensuring that the voice of those who are often marginalised by society are at the forefront of any decision making processes.

“The togetherness and trust that has built up has been really empowering and uplifting”.
Martin, Community Commissioner

Celebration Event 2023

In July 2023 we held the Poverty Truth Commission Celebration Event for Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole.

We were celebrating the work of the Commissioners over the last 18 months. But although we were celebrating, that wasn’t the end of the PTC, the Commissioners are still working hard on their ideas and recommendations as we continue into the embedding phase of the Poverty Truth process.

We could have shared a report at the time about what we’ve been up to, but where’s the fun in that!? So you can now relive the event and hear from the Commissioners who told their stories on the day about the PTC journey and the emerging ideas. You can watch this on YouTube (Highlights or full event).

End of Commission Report

The Commission comes to a close in November 2023, but the ideas and recommendations will continue to ripple out across BCP for a long time to come. You can now read our end of Commission report which highlights the PTC process, the journey, and the outcomes. What seeds will Poverty Truth sow in your world?

Commission Update April 2024

Following the end of the Commission we have been continuing to work on a number of emerging ideas:

  • Community Commissioner Social Enterprise
  • Poverty Truth Wisdom Lab
  • Art of Hosting Training
  • Poverty Truth Commission 2

You can find out more about these ideas and what we’ve been up to here.

What if… Change is Possible?

The project has been kindly supported by Courage to Thrive, The Talbot Village Trust, The National Lottery, Public Health Dorset, BCP Council, Bournemouth University, Lush, Bourne Space, Life Centre, CHX Foundation, and Beryl Bikes.