Stand up and tell the world

Windermere 1Our Poverty Media Coordinator Jackie Cox shares stories from our work helping people to challenge the stigma of poverty.

With so much work going on to challenge stigma and fight poverty, we thought it would be a good idea to organise a residential event where people with lived experience of poverty could meet each other, talk about the way they are active in their communities and find ways of supporting one another.

Windermere 2So 17 adults and seven children headed for Windermere in the Lake District at the end of July for 48 hours. We stayed at the wonderful Windermere Centre, where the welcome is warm, the food tasty and plentiful and the rooms are clean and peaceful.

By the time we sat down to the evening BBQ, people were already making new friends and sharing their stories. We heard about projects at ATD 4th World, the Salford Poverty Truth Commission, Self-Reliant Groups for women in Openshaw, the Manchester Literature Festival, and the Community Voices project being run by Greater Manchester Poverty Action.

A session with Jonathan Heawood from Impress, an independent press regulator, gave people the opportunity to contribute to a code of standards for print and web media.

The group then turned their attention to food poverty in the UK. Working with poet and author Tony Walsh, we found ways of telling the story of food poverty through poetry. The group have produced two fantastic poems which we hope will be part of the launch of the End Hunger UK campaign in October.

This was a truly enriching 48 hours and I am always amazed by the resilience, the honesty, and the talent that emerges when a group such as this comes together.

Stand up and tell the world one thing about poverty

Poverty is a waste of potential.
Poverty may mean a lack of financial resources…
however it can refuel one’s faith in humanity.
Poverty is not an acceptable consequence of birth.
Poverty needs to be eradicated NOW!
Poverty… is not the best… of me… or you… or us!
Poverty… child killer.
It is nobody in poverty’s fault: the poor can’t be blamed, stigmatised or hidden away. They are us; you, me and everybody.

I am shocked…

…that if a parent is sanctioned their child loses their free school meal.
…by the misery of so many people being sanctioned.

I am amazed…

… at the true humanity with which a group of strangers can discuss the most difficult and dark parts of life. I feel warm, I feel moved, I feel humbled.
…by the equality of purpose
…at the amount of action taking place in our communities to combat hunger and food poverty

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