We Can Solve Poverty in the UK!

In the face of the current challenges that we face as communities, as regions and as nations we need to develop effective local strategies to help our people in this COST OF LIVING CRISIS.

In the UK The Joseph Rowntree Foundation, as always, leads the way. The Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust is a Quaker trust which supports people who address the root causes of conflict and injustice. This support is provided, primarily, through funding applied for by applicants.

The Foundation’s founder, Joseph Rowntree was always very clear on one thing: for your efforts to have any lasting benefit, you must tackle the roots of a problem. If you only treat the “superficial manifestations” of social or economic problems then you will ease the symptoms for a time, but make no lasting difference.

In its recent ground breaking report – We can solve poverty in the UK the JRF sets out a comprehensive strategy and recommendation on how all of us can act to solve poverty

The opening three paragraphs of the report are clear:

“The UK should be a country where, no matter where people live, everyone has the chance of a decent and secure life. Instead, millions of people – many from working families – are struggling to meet their needs.

Poverty means not being able to heat your home, pay your rent, or buy the essentials for your children. It means waking up every day facing insecurity, uncertainty, and impossible decisions about money. It means facing marginalisation – and even discrimination – because of your financial circumstances. The constant stress it causes can overwhelm people, affecting them emotionally and depriving them of the chance to play a full part in society.

The reality is, almost anyone can experience poverty. Unexpected events such as bereavement, illness, redundancy or relationship breakdown are sometimes all it can take to push us into circumstances that then become difficult to escape.”

Read the whole report at:



Changing South Wye, Changing the World!

  At this time of political and economic turmoil, our communities are facing challenges which will affect so many of us.

 In 1844 the Rochdale Pioneers used their earnings to found their community co-operative.  This was to provide what was required by the people.

 A democratic process had begun and life improved over time for many.  At the heart of this was communities.  They worked hard for one another, with each other and the times, not unlike today, were challenging.  To tackle today’s problems, we will require that same level of commitment from communities.

 Fresh Start, in partnership with the Robert Owen Society, are realistic about what can be achieved and that the roots of our solutions are in identifying what the communities require.

 We are creating models for problems and identifying strategies.  We are moving quickly now behind the scenes. This has been hard work but Fresh Start is confident that by bringing communities together, we can create with the people, a way forward.

 Our interviews with those who could help us begin this Thursday 26th May 2022. If you feel that your skill or knowledge could contribute to helping South Wye in any way, then we would like to hear from you. 

 Please contact us at freshstart@robertowen.org


Fresh Start South Wye would like to wish you all a Happy New Year and hope that despite the challenges of testing and ensuring all were safe, that you had an enjoyable Christmas.

Talking of challenges, this year will be so for us at Fresh Start, eased though by the partnership with the Robert Owen Society.  Our meeting prior to Christmas has shown that we can work together to bring about a model for improving the lives of the people of South Wye.

This spring will include us meeting those working on the ground and looking at the fantastic work already taking place in the community.  We will look to form relationships which will take us all forward in exciting projects and innovation for the area.

Fresh Start along with the Robert Owen Society have two exciting projects which we will bring to the area soon.  One of these will add sustainability to the area, which is key, whilst the other will be tackling a small part of deprivation.  Both projects will involve our community working together. 

There are exciting times ahead.  Follow our work at Fresh Start South Wye on Facebook and think about joining the Common Good, also Facebook.

Happy New Year to you all.

 Fresh Start South Wye

 The area to the South of the Wye is a community of 22,000 people.  Formerly a scattered farming community, the area has grown rapidly since World War II, largely through council and social housing development. However, little thought had gone into the strategic planning.  Public service provision has not at any stage matched need.  The South Wye area has high levels of deprivation with the resultant impact on health, crime, achievement and ambition. 

 There is very much a feeling that the South Wye area fills the traditional concept of a community ‘the other side of the tracks’.  

 Change and improvement with fundamental community regeneration is required.  A group of people interested in South Wye have come together with a real vision to restore the community through a macro public/private initiative which would be strategically managed through a community wide South Wye co-operative business organisation.  This vision is known as Fresh Start South Wye. 




The newly designed Fresh Start South Wye logo


Led by Amelia Washbourne, a resident of the South Wye area of Hereford City for over 35 years. As a mother and a grandmother with roots deep into the local community Amelia currently works in the NHS and has a background in local government, health and social care and early years education. Her long standing personal and community interest in improving the level of service delivery and quality of life for our South Wye people is what led to the creation of this project.



Having followed the Robert Owen 2021 Annual Lecture with interest earlier this year, Amelia had been working on a plan for South Wye for some time and the vision shared by this year’s Lecture contributors inspired her to contact Chris Morgan, President and Secretary of the Robert Owen Society, to see if her ideas could be worked up into a constructive proposal. The rest is history, as they say and Amelia and Chris been working together to bring together an exciting and highly innovative plan which, although still in draft form, is ready to be shared with some of the key movers and shakers in the community.

Watch this space!