Sophie Howe is the Future Generations Commissioner for Wales. I met her last week at a conference curated by Big Issue Cymru and the Bevan Foundation. She spoke about her mission to put Wales on the intellectual, political and socially significant map. At the cutting edge of poverty prevention.
Having spent virtually the whole of the life of The Big Issue going on about the need to prevent, and having gone into the House of Lords under the mantra of prevention, you can understand the significance of Sophie’s work to me. That a nation should not only embrace the concept of preventing and pre-empting poverty, but bring the concept screaming into every public decision is bordering on the miraculous.
And yet governments don’t do that! Usually, they work away, spending most of their scarce resources on locking the stable door after the horse has bolted. Don’t you know the voracious appetite of governments – through differing administrations, and of various political complexions – to do more of the same? Locking stable doors sans horses is one of their favourite methods.
There was a surreal sense that all was possible there in Cardiff Bay. The night before, we were booked into a boutique hotel, but, alas, they had no record of the transaction. A little scurrying got us into the St David’s on the bay itself, and this was a wise and beautiful choice.
Thank you, little hotel, for the mix-up, for the St David’s was supreme. Cardiff is a brilliant array of surprises and joys. Buildings like ships, water like glass and a sense of joyfulness embraced us. The following morning I didn’t feel much like conferencing. I felt like sitting at my breakfast out on the balcony overlooking the Butetown docks, boats and complaining gulls for the rest of the day.
“Poverty must be dismantled, not just alleviated.” Powerful words from @johnbirdswords today about how #PreventionWorks at Prevention and Inclusion: Lessons for tackling poverty, with @BevanFoundation in Cardiff pic.twitter.com/5Emb9SxtLd
— The Big Issue (@BigIssue) April 19, 2018