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Business & Economy

Society Matters CIC rolls out programme to help firms tackle staff poverty

A social enterprise has launched an advice programme to help firms support employees’ financial wellbeing.

Gateshead-based Society Matters CIC is holding free poverty alleviation workshops, strategy sessions and employee surveys.

Aimed at businesses across Newcastle, Northumberland and North Tyneside, the scheme explores the welfare support system and the realities of poverty and its impact on staff and their families, providing leaders with knowledge and skills to help.

It comes after Trades Union Congress figures showed the North East has the highest rate of child poverty in key worker households in the UK.

Backed by the North of Tyne Combined Authority, as part of the Child Poverty Prevention Programme, the project runs until July next year.

Jayne Graham, Society Matters project director, said: “Our aspiration for this programme is to deepen understanding among employers of the realities of in-work poverty.

“Most importantly, it is about supporting them to put in place practical measures that will make a real difference to the financial wellbeing of their staff and, in turn, workplace satisfaction and productivity.”

Jayne added: “There is no silver bullet solution, but we have already identified best practice through talking to employers and charities across the region, which will be fairly straightforward to replicate.

“Business leaders have told us they want to do something beyond the obvious pay and benefits, but they aren’t sure what.

“Our job is to make sure they have the insight, tools and support they need to take immediate action to help staff avoid financial problems spiralling out of control.”

  • Pictured, above, from left to right, are Rebecca Leonard, project co-ordinator; David Van Der Velde, social action development manager; Jayne Graham, associate director for social action; and Miriam Harte, project advisory group lead