‘From poverty to flourishing’ theme draws to a close, and next proposals due

Ella Rhodes reports.

A British Psychological Society campaign which explored psychologically-informed ways of reducing poverty and its causes is drawing to a close. After almost two years the From Poverty to Flourishing campaign will mark its end with a collection of essays exploring the topic from experts and organisations in the field.

The campaign, which also forms the basis of our July/August edition, became a policy priority for the society after the senate – made up of representatives of BPS member networks – voted for it in 2019. Initially intended to run for one year it was extended until the end of 2021.

In the last two years BPS policy team staff, along with an expert reference group of psychologists, have held meetings with politicians and other stakeholders and produced briefing documents and reports exploring the psychological impacts of poverty and psychology’s role in reducing it. One of those documents was a briefing paper, Foundations for the Best Start in Life, which looked at the importance of both supporting children and families and taking a systemic and psychologically-informed approach to tackling poverty. Two papers from the campaign exploring the roles of agency and empowerment, and community resilience, will also be published soon. During the course of the campaign members of the expert reference group also represented the BPS on the Scottish government’s Social Renewal Board while another member contributed to the Child Poverty Action Group’s End the Need for Foodbanks working group.

BPS Policy Advisor Nigel Atter said the campaign had generated a great deal of external engagement. ‘This ranged from a full written response from Will Quince, Minister for Welfare Delivery, to meeting with a wide range of parliamentarians and officials from the Conservatives, Labour, Social Democratic Labour Party, Liberal Democrats and Sinn Féin, who were all interested in the Society’s stance and recommendations on poverty.’

To mark the end of the campaign the BPS has reached out to individuals and organisations, in government and beyond, to share their ideas on what can help to move people from poverty to flourishing in post-Covid Britain in a short essay. These are set to be published as an e-book this autumn. The Children and Young People’s Coalition, Child Poverty Action Group and Joseph Rowntree Foundation (Scotland) are among the contributors to the collection so far.

The policy priority area for 2022 is now open for proposals from BPS member networks with a deadline of Friday 30 July. All members can vote on these proposals until 30 September. The three proposals with the most votes will be debated and voted on by the Senate in November. More information can be found at bps.org.uk/senate 

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