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Co-producing policy to eradicate poverty

We are all undoubtedly living in challenging times, in which poverty in all its insidious guises is set to increase. The Social Action & Research Foundation (SARF) envision a different society than the one we are currently offered that privileges the market above all else. We want one in which the economy is made to work for society. In order to achieve this, our shared public services must be co-produced alongside communities contributing their essential knowledge to create an effective and accountable welfare state, which promotes active equality at a local level, and in which the voice of those experiencing poverty is truly valued.

We are often told that this is a tough time to establish a new organisation, but we feel we are at a critical juncture in which new and robust ideas are desperately needed and SARF is excited to be in a position to contribute. We will not be alone in this and will work with a range of partners. These partners will include colleagues at our new home at the Biospheric Foundation and also the Centre for Local Economic Strategies. By developing a collaborative approach, we will provide interdisciplinary insights to provide policy solutions that are both innovative and pragmatic.

Our most important collaboration will be through strengthening and developing partnerships with those that live and work in our many communities. SARF believes that the best approach to developing policy solutions is through collaboration with those experiencing poverty. We want to democratise policy expertise and reconstruct the terms of debate, involving people not as objects to study, but as co-producers of new ideas. This will involve collective mutual learning, which includes equipping the people that we work alongside with the skills to develop local action research projects and translating policy in order for local people to participate in the development and implementation of local solutions. We will then share this work nationally and once established, our aim is to invest in practical solutions that have been identified by the communities we work with.

It is for this reason that SARF is working with the Guardian and London School of Economics to deliver the Manchester and Salford Reading the Riots Community Conversations. This provides the opportunity to connect the communities of these two great cities with politicians and will contribute invaluable evidence to the national response, which all too often ignores northern voices. Together with the communities directly affected, we will explore the deeper social issues that the riots have revealed and alongside local partners, will develop new approaches to address these issues.

The Social Action & Research Foundation (SARF) is a new social enterprise that will co-produce policy solutions with different communities in order to eradicate poverty. We will do this by building on our grass-roots connections, collaborating with those that live and work in communities and through strategic influence at all levels of the decision-making process.

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