Panel of people with lived experiences of poverty dubbed ‘inspiring’ by Renfrewshire councillors

Jack Thomson

A panel of people with lived experience of poverty have been dubbed an “inspiring bunch” after meeting with Renfrewshire councillors.

The group was formed in recent months with the intention of having a practical impact on shaping local policymaking.

Recruitment is complete and the team, which officers previously described as “really strong”, has already met a number of times.

Councillor Jacqueline Cameron, chair of the Fairer Renfrewshire sub-committee, a task force formed last year to focus support during the cost-of-living crisis, confirmed she and vice-chair Councillor Graeme Clark met with the panel on Tuesday.

“They were a really inspiring bunch of people,” she told Wednesday’s leadership board.

“We’ve agreed to have continued dialogue with them and some form of written agreement, so that we work in co-production with them.

“They were really keen that it wasn’t a tick-box exercise and I think we managed to reassure them of that, although it will be our actions I suppose that will convince them that’s the case.

“We hope to do that going forward.”

Poverty Alliance and the Paisley-based Star Project joined forces with the council as part of the initiative.

The role of the former has been to provide expert advice around good practice and assist in effective facilitation, while the latter has been involved in the recruitment, training and support of panel members.

The group will continue to meet in the early part of this year and it is hoped there will be an opportunity for it to discuss its recommendations with the Fairer Renfrewshire sub-committee in March.

Councillor Clark added: “I did enjoy, as Councillor Cameron expressed, being with the lived experience group.

“A real challenge is to continue to listen to people, to listen to constituents, and to allow our constituents to shape our agenda as councillors.

“That is challenging and that will continue to be challenging as part of that group but we intend to try and follow that through.”

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