Help with food planning and free travel among recommendations to tackle poverty in South Tyneside

Education on healthy eating and calls for cheaper public transport for young people are part of a final set of recommendations to help tackle poverty in South Tyneside.

The council’s people select committee has been carrying out a ‘Commission on Tackling Poverty in South Tyneside’, with three reports previously coming forward featuring ideas on how to tackle the issue.

At the committee’s latest meeting, a final eight further recommendations were endorsed, taking the total number to 30.

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These came after councillors in recent months looked at areas including access to transport, skills strategies and the provision of a sustainable food plan.

A woman holds a basket of goods in a supermarket as figures show prices on some goods are up by 10% year on year (Photo by Matthew Horwood/Getty Images)

Cllr John McCabe, chair of the committee, praised the work undertaken and the importance of doing all they can to support residents.

He said: “It’s something that we don’t want to be lost, it’s something that’s got to have definitive time on it, we know what we’re striving for.

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“We’ve examined this in depth, and while we have some solutions, I don’t think we’ll ever, ever have the full solution, it’s impossible.”

New recommendations include ensuring sustainable food plan campaigns emphasise financial benefits of reducing wastage and batch cooking, along with providing affordable recipes.

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Steps will also include the council promoting the development of community food pantries and working with young people in looking at how healthy eating is reflected in school curriculums.

Requests will also be made to look at the feasibility of free travel on buses for young people accompanied by an adult and for carers, along with the possibility of reduced fares for those on a lower income travelling to work or training.

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Further transport steps will include calling on Nexus and bus companies to undertake a campaign which highlights travel options for those on a lower income for journeys such as to school and hospital appointments.

Education steps will include getting schools to stagger work experience weeks to help better manage demands, and the council providing businesses offering apprenticeships increased guidance and support.

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Finally, as part of the plans the council will include tackling poverty in one of the cabinet portfolios or else appoint a member champion as a focus for issues around poverty.

Cllr McCabe warned issues are likely “going to get worse” due to rising fuel prices and other bills, but stressed the importance of councillors doing all they can to support residents.

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The recommendations will now go to a future South Tyneside Council cabinet meeting to be formally implemented, subject to approval.

An action plan will also be made to track the work being undertaken, with updates coming back to the people select committee.