Hello and welcome to our new blog and to the second round of The Morecambe Bay Poverty Truth Commission, which commenced earlier this year. It seems only fitting that, in order for me to promote a wider culture of sharing in this round of the commission, I should introduce myself.
My name is Phil Sykes and I started work with MBPTC as a Development Worker and Communications Manager in October 2021. I have a varied background, specialising in the area of community co-production which I have brought to my work in the arts, to social care services and now to the commission. I also worked in a busy marketing office for years and in addition to looking after our website and social media, I have lots of exciting filmmaking plans too!
I moved back to Morecambe Bay in 2019 with my wife after living in Manchester for sixteen years and reconnected with the natural beauty here that I had often taken for granted. Since our move, I have been very lucky to be involved in the local arts scene in Morecambe, but from my very first project with local residents, it was clear that there are countless unheard voices and stories of poverty not currently being told in the current narrative. I hope that in my work with MBPTC I can help to redress this balance and play my part in the telling of these stories.
Since starting in October, I’ve been working alongside the incredible Ally McKenzie to recruit a brave new band of community commissioners prepared to take on the emotional weight of round two and we currently have a dedicated core group of really inspiring people. I’ve also been incredibly inspired by the work of Stanley’s Community Centre in Morecambe’s West End where I’ve been joining the weekly Young Peoples Focus Group. The young people of Stanley’s have defined the areas of poverty that they feel are the most important and we are currently planning a series of films to make in the new year that explore each issue. Watch this space!
The reason for this blog is to give the MBPTC team and its commissioners an opportunity to examine the very present issues of poverty faced locally in a more personal way. As I type, I have an ear on news reports of the rapidly rising Omicron Covid 19 variant, with a very uncertain Christmas and New Year period ahead and the immense risk of people falling further into poverty. There has arguably never been a more important time than now for the work of Poverty Truth Commissions around the country. Its unclear as to how and when our groups will come back together, but I am sure that MBPTC can make a difference in these desperate times and I feel very grateful to be able to help tell its story.