Poverty affects everyone differently and isn’t simply about money, but is made up of a number of factors. It can be confusing for households and organisations to unpick these complexities and find a way forward. But one Gateshead-based organisation has a tool that can help on a number of levels.
In this blog, we hear from the Director of Transmit Enterprise CiC, Andy Cox, about how this tool – Signal – works and its impact so far.
What is Signal?
Signal is part of a global movement to eliminate poverty. Essentially, it’s both a tool to understand and measure the areas of their life in which an individual or household may be struggling, and a method or strategy to support them through difficult circumstances. However, it also works on a broader level, giving organisations a clearer understanding of how to respond more effectively to people’s needs in any environment. And last but not least, its anonymised data can be used to help influence policy, and eradicate some of the causes of poverty.
How does it work?
Signal is a visual tool that can be used both online and offline. Its self-evaluation survey groups a series of indicators into different areas of life that contribute towards poverty, namely income and employment, housing and infrastructure, education and culture, organisation and participation, health and environment, and interiority and motivation. Using a traffic light system to select which of the options best reflect your circumstance, this helps identify what it means to you not to be poor, breaking down what we think of as poverty into smaller, more manageable problems.
This provides an at-a-glance impression of where changes could be made, so priorities can be decided upon and a plan can be worked out to transform life for the better.
Who should use it?
Anyone at all can use Signal and in particular it’s useful wherever an individual or household has complex issues to resolve, as it can help support them through those challenges. At Transmit Enterprise CiC, we work with partners in the Voluntary, Community and Social Enterprise (VCSE) sector, local authorities, social housing, advice and guidance and regeneration companies who have direct public contact, to ensure appropriate use and operational integration.
Validated by Oxford University Poverty and Human Development Initiative and tested extensively with deprived households in Newcastle, it’s currently being used in 26 countries worldwide under the brand Poverty Stoplight, reaching 60,000+ new households annually.
We have a licence to develop the model exclusively across the UK from our North East base and are currently working with 40+ partners, including in Sheffield and Edinburgh, but our network is expanding. Our reach for this year stands at 6,000 households at the moment, and that number is growing daily.
Our tests revealed the stigma attached to the word poverty created a user engagement barrier, and our partners recognise that whether they’re working with troubled families, people with complex lifestyles or wellbeing challenges, or who are living and working in poverty, the transitioning process is exactly the same. Thus, we selected the name SIGNAL to best reflect those varied circumstances.
Ideally, we would like every VCSE organisation across the North East either to use Signal or direct someone who they feel might benefit towards it. Anyone interested in finding out more can find a video with more detail and some frequently asked questions on our website at clearsignal.org. And should any VCSE organisation wish to review Signal more extensively, contact us at email@example.com.