09 February 2018
The impact and effect of poverty on Jersey families was the main theme of this year’s Brighter Futures charity conference.
Jersey’s Chief Minister opened the conference yesterday and praised Brighter Futures charity for supporting so many local families with parenting and life challenges. Senator Gorst also announced that the government would be leading the way as a good employer by adopting the Caritas Living Wage.
Senator Gorst said “We already pay our own staff good salaries but we will now ensure that our contractors do as well, including the cleaners and grounds staff that work regularly on our premises. We also plan to use our procurement processes to promote the Caritas Living Wage further afield, encouraging other Jersey organisations to sign up. It is right for us to lead by example.”
Brighter Futures 10th Anniversary Conference, “Just About Managing”, was sponsored by the Ana Leaf Foundation and held at the Radisson Blu, Jersey.
The key note speaker was Esther Dermott, research director, Faculty of Social Sciences and Law.
Home Affairs Minister Deputy Kristina Moore and Jersey’s new Children’s Commissioner Deborah McMillan also spoke at the conference, which was led by Wendy Hurford, president of Brighter Futures.
Deputy Moore thanked the charity for organising the conference to learn first-hand about the impact of poverty on Jersey families.
“I found the presentations from our invited experts Julie Unwin and Professor Esther Dermott both informative and challenging. Challenging, because it doesn’t sit well with me that in an Island of such wealth, there are families, in our community, that are really struggling. I know that responding to family’s experience of poverty in places like Jersey represents a daily challenge to service providers, policy makers and politicians. It’s clear from our speakers this morning that the impact of these experiences is long lasting and largely preventable.”
According to the Jersey Statistics Unit approximately 19% of all households find it difficult to cope financially, this figures rises in couples with children to 25% which is one in four families and in single parent households this proportion goes up to 44% which approaching half of this population group.
Deputy Moore added: “Together, I think we could be bolder and braver in understanding the lived experiences of families and children who are just about managing in order to continue to develop responsive services and effective policy approaches.
“I am committed to improving the life chances of children especially during the first few years of life. I believe the positive legacy of the 1001 days manifesto that includes exciting service improvements such as universal Baby Steps Parenting Support and Parent Infant Psychotherapy both form part of important early intervention that will improve emotional maternal health as well as children’s outcomes in the future.”