For many Plymouth is a vibrant, diverse city, the second largest on the south coast. The naval dockyard at Devonport is the largest and most advanced in Western Europe. Plymouth’s Universities and public sector employers, including health, education and administration contribute hundreds of millions of pounds to the region’s economy.
But it’s a city of contrasts. For example, more people in Plymouth live in privately rented homes than average. A third of these homes, around 30,000 in all, are classed as ‘non-decent’ according to the decent homes standard, with consequences for residents’ health.
It’s this disparity of experience that the Plymouth Fairness Commission has taken a year to research and evaluate. The result is a call for a profound change in the way agencies and communities work together, a new collaboration where communities work with agencies to prioritise and deliver solutions themselves. Their final report ‘Creating the Conditions for Fairness’ highlights a new approach to devolving local power called ‘Systems Leadership’, which fosters a sense of aspiration and community involvement in decision-making.
Christians believe we are all created equal before God, though many face inequality of income, opportunity, background or education. We are called to care for one
another, and especially the most vulnerable. We are required to seek justice and mercy (Micah 6:8), to build peaceful relationships together and to promote the common good. We are asked to heal brokenness, build bridges and repair fractured communities. This Report then is of vital interest to the city’s many churches who wish to bring light and healing.
Plymouth is also part of the heritage of Devon and the wider South West, and remains key to the travel and work of tens of thousands of people in Cornwall and Devon. The economic, educational and cultural value of the city spreads well beyond its boundaries and so many of Devon’s parishes and Mission Communities will want to follow their progress and learn from their experience.
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