What is Poverty Truth?

What if people living in poverty could take the lead on challenging the city’s leaders to work with them on tackling poverty? Would it make a difference to the decisions that are being made? Would new solutions to poverty be discovered? Would people listen and, if they did, would they better understand the challenges that poverty brings?

Drawing upon the experience of the Scottish Poverty Truth Commission we set up in early 2014 with the aim of ensuring that people who have experienced poverty first-hand are at the heart of how the city thinks and acts in tackling poverty and inequality. Since then, we have held our first commission, which ended in 2015, and are about to start our second.

Over a period of 18 months a group of civic and business decision makers and ‘experts by experience’ of poverty in Leeds will meet together to build relationships, share experiences and think how might we respond to poverty more effectively.

Ordinary people will be given the chance to relate their personal experiences of struggling against poverty. By creating safe spaces for people to tell their stories and opportunities for those making and influencing decisions to listen, it is hoped that the project deepen understanding of the difficult and entrenched issues of poverty, improve perceptions and challenge stereotyping, and lead to better decision making by the city’s leaders across business, public and voluntary sectors.


The Leeds Poverty Truth Challenge is an independent project, brought together by a number of different partners and hosted by Together for Peace. It is supported by the Leeds City Council’s partnership structures, partner organisations, individuals and greatly assisted by the Scottish Poverty Truth Commission.

In order that the commission retains its independence it is supported financially by a patchwork of organisations and funding bodies. These include: the Church Urban Fund; Joseph Rowntree Foundation; Leeds Christian Community Trust; Leeds City Council; NHS Public Health; and West Yorkshire Police.