The Hartlepool Action Lab is a project supported by JRF that brings together community members, businesses, community groups and the public sector to work together on issues that affect everyone in Hartlepool.
Hartlepool has a child poverty rate of 30%, unemployment stands at 10% and a pension credit claimant rate of 33%. JRF is seeking to bring people together who can make a difference on the ground to help address some of these challenges.
JRF and the Joseph Rowntree Housing Trust (JRHT) are already working in Hartlepool – at Hartfields, a retirement community with extra care provision run by JRHT.
Building on its existing presence, JRF began discussions in 2015 with organisations and people from Hartlepool to better understand the challenges people in the town face.
Today, JRF hosted the Hartlepool Action Lab to kick-start that process. The Action Lab will support a collaborative approach to identifying key challenges important to people who live in Hartlepool and seek to make positive change through collective action.
The first round of collaborators is a group of people who are committed to ending poverty in Hartlepool, and are committed to working collaboratively to achieve that goal. This group included Hartlepool Borough Council, the Big Lottery Fund and Hartlepool Carers.
Katherine Blaker, Community Research and Grants Manager at JRF, said: “Our vision is for a prosperous Hartlepool without poverty where everyone can thrive and contribute. The aim of the Hartlepool Action Lab is to bring people together from across the community, and see how JRF can support local people and organisations to create change that benefits everyone in Hartlepool. We would urge and welcome people to get in touch and get involved in making that change happen.”
Gill Alexander, Chief Executive of Hartlepool Council, said: “Eradicating poverty in Hartlepool is a top priority for the Council and we are involved in a number of initiatives to support people in the local community. The Council fully supports this latest initiative launched by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation which is a demonstration of their commitment to make a difference to the town and improve local people’s lives.”