Whitley CDA discuss the “Levelling Up” agenda with the BBC

There has been a lot of news about the rising costs of living. How fuel and energy costs are spiralling and the challenges many of us face just trying to stay afloat. Amongst all of this there is also talk of the government’s “Levelling Up” agenda. One of the criticisms is that many “left behind” areas are still being left behind as they don’t fit with the current political narrative. We were very pleased that Trisha Bennett our Community Development Coordinator was invited on BBC Politics South and Radio Berkshire to discuss this.

Hear Trisha Bennett talk to Andrew Peach on BBC Radio Berkshire

The Levelling Up consultations being conducted by those that can influence how these funds are used is still, even today, very top down. Our key ethos at Whitley CDA is that if you want to affect local change you have to talk, work and be with locals. It takes time to build trust in a community and change is not something that can easily be achieved, to really succeed you need to do more than roll out what ever the latest policy of the day is. Our doors are open, come and find out…

Whitley CDA is a small neighbourhood-based charity in Reading. In the latest Index of Multiple Deprivation this area was ranked 6,087 out of 32,844 in England, where 1 was the most deprived and 32,844 the least. Out of the 16 wards in Reading, Whitley is the most deprived ward with 31.6% of children in Whitley at risk of living in poverty. More than 63% of the working age population are in work, making Whitley an example of having a high density of in-work poor and JAMs – those who are Just About Managing. Whitley CDA has seen an increase in JAMs and others seeking support from its food surplus outlet in recent weeks and months as food and energy price rises are starting to hit hard and more people, even those in work, are forced to choose between heating and eating.

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