Cllr Kate Groucutt, Justin Hill, Ruth Du Plessis, Mark Palethorpe, Cllr David Baines and Cllr Anthony Burns collecting the award
Cllr Kate Groucutt, Justin Hill, Ruth Du Plessis, Mark Palethorpe, Cllr David Baines and Cllr Anthony Burns collecting the award

A community-focused commission targeting inequalities across St Helens Borough has clinched a top national award.

Members from St Helens  Inequalities Commission with The MJ Award

St Helens Borough Council won an award for ‘A Whole Council Approach to Tackling Health Inequalities’ at the coveted The MJ Award for its work in bringing together an Inequalities Commission which has been a driver of supporting communities, particularly through the cost-of-living situation.

The Inequalities Commission was founded in 2021 bringing together community groups such as Halton and St Helens Voluntary and Community Action (HSHVCA), YMCA, and Health Watch with key council services. The commission, chaired by Justin Hill, Chief Executive of St Helens YMCA and Chair of HSHVCA, was created to understand the barriers impacting residents, give St Helens people a voice and learn from expertise and best practice to try to tackle inequalities and support the most vulnerable in the borough.

The commission in its first year focused on tackling fuel poverty, food poverty, and providing the best start for children and among the programmes it delivered included expanding the number of food pantries and low cost healthy food availability in the borough, small grants to support community groups providing help to people in need of help, and linking wider advice and support to our affordable warmth programmes already in place.

Hailing the success Councillor David Baines, Leader of St Helens Borough Council, said: “I am delighted that the hard work of so many people across our borough has rightly been recognised at these prestigious awards. The Inequalities Commission is a great example of our collective approach to supporting residents through the cost-of-living crisis but more importantly to understanding and addressing the long-term causes of inequalities.

“The collective effort of our Council and partner organisations means this is an award win for many people across our borough, and it’s yet more national recognition of the innovative work happening here in St Helens.”

St Helens Borough Council was also highly commended at The MJ Awards for the category Best Social Housing Initiative for its Everyone In project with Torus and The Salvation Army which focused on finding long term accommodation for homeless people during the pandemic and supporting them to tackle the underlying issues as a way to tackle rough sleeping.

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