Getting business to play its part in tackling child poverty

Breaking the cycle of poverty is one of the biggest challenges of our time, according to campaigners Plymouth Children in Poverty (PCiP). 

It’s the brainchild of Steve Patey, a director in PwC’s West and Wales region, who helped set up PCiP after a colleague, Charlie Jones, told him of the good work of The Millfields Trust, a local social enterprise tackling hardship in Plymouth.

A 2018 report from the End Child Poverty coalition, based on HMRC data and the Labour Force Survey, said in the Plymouth wards with the worst rates of deprivation, two-fifths of children were living in poverty. This amounted to more than 45% - around 1,000 children - living in St Peter and the Waterfront.

Steve commented:

“Depending on which ward you’re born into, your life is pretty much mapped out. I felt we all have a responsibility to ensure people in our community are being treated fairly, wherever they live.”

In the 18 months since it was formed, PCiP has been getting local businesses to share its vision and determination to tackle child poverty. A recent quiz held in the city and sponsored by PwC raised £17,000, though Steve is keen for PCiP not to be seen as dealing in handouts:

“It’s not a charity - it’s an ongoing campaign to raise awareness in the corporate world that businesses need to share responsibility, get involved, and do something to solve these problems together. 

“Also, while PCiP isn’t a PwC thing, we are networked throughout the city and this certainly helps spread the word. We have the ability to knock on the doors of corporates to spread the word and we had 25 corporates, charities, plus the council at the quiz, each of them eager to find out more and make a difference through PCiP’s projects.”

Among the projects being funded are in nursery schools, dental hygiene and education and a reading initiative. Steve is particularly keen to highlight two other projects: the first has seen PCiP team up with Twofour, who are owned by ITV, to produce a series of inspirational and aspirational five-minute videos to be shown in secondary schools in the poorest wards.

“The message in the videos is: if you engage in education now, you will be able to work for these fantastic companies featured in the videos. I believe it’s a really interesting project, and one with a far-reaching and long-lasting impact.”

The second project is taking place at Dartmoor Zoo, a charity which is piloting a project with local schools and the police crime commissioner to support a group of excluded kids from tough backgrounds.

“I was bowled over by these guys working as a team and learning, where they couldn’t learn in a school environment. It was truly amazing,” Steve adds.

“We should have seven life-changing projects live by the start of 2020. We’re just at the start of this, and we’re really excited to continue working with our local community to make a difference.”

PwC was recently ranked first UK Social Mobility Employer Index 2019, which ranks Britain’s employers on the actions they’re taking to ensure they are accessing and progressing talent from all class backgrounds. 

This is an ongoing campaign to raise awareness in the corporate world that businesses need to share responsibility, get involved, and do something to solve these problems together.

Steve Patey

Contact us

Neale Graham

Senior manager, Communications, PwC United Kingdom

Tel: +44 (0)7801 766188

Follow us