The council’s three-year anti-poverty strategy (2020-2023) works to address the effects of and prevent poverty in Cambridge. The strategy sets out 58 actions, which focus on work across five themes:
- Helping people on low incomes to maximise their income and minimise their costs;
- Strengthening families and communities, including supporting groups of people that are more likely to experience poverty;
- Promoting an inclusive economy, by raising skills and improving access to a range of employment opportunities for people on low incomes;
- Addressing the high cost of housing, improving housing conditions, and reducing homelessness; and
- Improving health outcomes for people on low incomes.
Highlights of work completed last year (2021-2022)
- Supporting the Real Living Wage – paying council staff and contractors a Real Living Wage; and running campaigns and events to encourage Cambridge employers to pay the Real Living Wage.
- Funding an Outreach Advisor at Cambridge Jobcentre Plus to provide financial advice to new Universal Credit claimants.
- Continuing to partner with Peterborough Environment City Trust (PECT) on a fuel poverty project funded by UK Power Networks’ Power Partners programme – providing energy advice to 178 households.
- Supporting council tenants with digital inclusion through loans of devices with pre-loaded data; and enabling the rollout of fibre optic broadband to council homes.
- Supporting low income households with digital inclusion, by applying to the National Databank Scheme to give households access to free data and unlimited calls/texts for up to six months; and awarding £40,000 to Cambridge Online to provide a range of digital inclusion support.
- Giving over £1 million in grants to projects aiming to reduce social and economic deprivation in Cambridge – to 80+ organisations delivering over 130 projects and activities.
- Saving residents money when disposing of bulky waste, by providing 14 community days and four skip days in low income areas of the city.
- Skills development – promoting learning, training and work opportunities to young people, such as through The Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Region of Learning project, reaching 55 young people aged 15 to 24.
- Increasing housing affordability: starting construction on site of 546 new council homes; approving 150 Affordable Homes; and approving the Greater Cambridge Affordable Rents policy, to set a maximum rent for Affordable Rent homes.
- Supporting rough sleepers with self-contained accommodation and support; and providing £324,000 in grants to voluntary and community groups supporting homeless people.
- Supporting healthy living, with up to 50% off leisure membership for people on some benefits (with 46,644 concessionary swims taken); and referring 143 adults with long term conditions to subsidised gym classes with support from a fitness instructor.
- Free hot lunches – with local partners, a programme to provide hot lunches for low-income families in seven wards during the school holidays.
For more information, read the full report presented to Environment and Community Scrutiny Committee meeting on 30 June 2022.