Beth Farhat confirmed as new Chair of regional child poverty network – North East Bylines

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The North East Child Poverty Commission (NECPC) has today confirmed the appointment of Beth Farhat as its new independent Chair. NECPC is a regional, cross-sector network which believes child poverty in the North East is not inevitable and ending it is worth working for, together.  Since 2019, the Commission has been hosted by – but is independent of – Newcastle University.

Beth grew up and lives in the region, having spent her entire working life in the North East.

She is currently the regional secretary of the National Education Union (NEU), having previously held the roles of regional secretary of the Northern TUC and regional co-ordinator of Unionlearn, which provides learning and skills opportunities to trade union members. She began her career as an apprentice through a programme managed by the North East Chamber of Commerce. 

Beth will formally take over the voluntary position as NECPC’s independent Chair on 19 June 2024, when the role is handed to her by NECPC’s Interim Chair – and Operations Director at the charity Children North East – Michele Deans.

Michele stepped into this role on an interim basis in 2023, when the Commission’s then Chair – Anna Turley – was selected as a Parliamentary candidate in the region.

A word from Beth Farhat, incoming NECPC chair

Beth said:

“I am really delighted to be appointed as the new Chair of the North East Child Poverty Commission, at what couldn’t be a more important time.

“Unacceptably high levels of poverty and hardship are not only limiting the life chances and opportunities of tens of thousands of children and families throughout the North East, this is holding the whole of our region back.

“A commitment to ending child poverty is absolutely fundamental for the North East, and must be a central, relentless focus for whoever forms the next Government with a new, evidence-based national child poverty strategy that we so urgently need.

“Equally important is that we do what we can with the resources and levers we do have in the North East – particularly through devolution – to make tackling child poverty a clear, regional priority.

“I look forward to working with colleagues in sectors right across the North East to make both happen, and cannot wait to get started.’

And from Michele Deans, interim chair

Michele added:

“We are so pleased that Beth will be joining us at NECPC as our new independent Chair.

“It has been a real privilege to help lead the Commission’s work over recent months – and particularly as we published ‘No time to wait’, our comprehensive blueprint for local and regional organisations to tackle child poverty.’

“I look forward to supporting Beth as she helps us take this work to the next level, both regionally and nationally, so that all babies, children and young people across the North East have the support they need to thrive.”


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