There is a 10-year gap in life expectancy between those living in the poorest and those living in the wealthiest wards in Bristol.
Wealth inequality leads to health inequality and this results in an increase of demand upon essential public services which are already stretched to breaking point by years of austerity and funding cuts.
Furthermore, we know from the quality of life survey that educational achievement is lower for poorer children and therefore by allowing the number of children living in poverty to rise we are producing a low-skill, low-income workforce of the future. Children are growing up in work-less households, having to cope with life on the breadline and by allowing this to continue we are turning poor children into poor adults and recycling all the same issues and problems onto the next generation.
Poor nutrition alone cost to NHS over £19.6 billion annually whilst the demand, and therefore the cost, on other public services, including the wider NHS, judicial, policing, social care and welfare benefit sectors are pushed up by higher levels of deprivation and social need.
Addressing the causes and effects of poverty therefore saves the taxpayer a considerable amount of money. 62.5% of people are considered high or medium risk of homelessness at the time of their referral to The Matthew Tree Project. Preventing this from happening is a key aspect of our work, and which reduces demand on public funded services, saving the tax payer a considerable amount of money.
The total cost per beneficiary intervention, of TMTP’s unique ‘Rebuilding Lives’ program, is £314.21 (average across all client cases). This compares favourably to the cost to provide publicly funded services to someone who has been allowed to fall into homelessness, which is £20,128. *
TMTP are working tirelessly and effectively to redress the inequalities and deprivation being suffered by so many and which has a direct and positive effect of reducing demand on public services and informing and influencing future policy.
*Source: Crisis UK report, ‘At What Cost’. Author Nicholas Pleace, July 2015
The Founder and CEO of TMTP invest considerable time and expertise in sector wide networking (locally and nationally) to ensure the work we do fits into local and national strategies, meets the needs of our clients and adds value to the sector as a whole. In addition to this, our model relies heavily upon a very large number of formal and informal sector-wide partnerships and the insight and learning we gain from this help us ensure what we do meets local demands and contributes overall.
As a result of this investment of time and shared learning our model has had a significant impact on local and national policy makers and will continue to do so.
Public Inquiry into Food Poverty in the UK
As advisers to the public inquiry, our evidence played a key role in shaping the final report recommendations.
"The Inquiry was inspired by the evidence it received from the staff and volunteers at The Matthew Tree Project in Bristol: particularly by the love and care they offer each of the users of their services, of catering for their immediate needs for food while at the same time helping them surmount the often severe personal difficulties in which some find themselves. The Matthew Tree Project builds these services around the people it serves. It gets to the heart of people’s problems and comes up with a long-term plan to get them back to where they need to be."