Stories from the urban edge

Powerlines LogoJackie Cox, our Poverty Media Coordinator, has been involved in some creative writing in Salford.


Many people in the UK don’t want to hear the reality of life for many families living below the breadline, so our challenge is to find ways of telling their stories in different ways, to reach different audiences, who may then join in campaigns for change.

Such an opportunity came along with some funding from the Arts Council and the vision of author David Gaffney. He wanted to create pieces of writing that would be presented as part of the Manchester Literature Festival in October this year.

It was important, though, that the stories and the writing came from people with lived experience of poverty, of living on benefits, of being sanctioned and being stigmatised because they are poor. Church Action on Poverty found four different groups of people in the Salford area. Each group worked for six weeks with a professional and published author: poet Jo Bell, flash fiction author David Gaffney, author and playwright Stephen May, and graphic novelist Darryl Cunningham.

On 20 October at 6:30pm, at Manchester Central Library, the resulting pieces will be presented under the title ‘Powerlines – New Stories from the Urban Edge’ as part of the Manchester Literature Festival.

Tickets are free but booking advised. Click here to book or call
0843 208 0500.

A blessing for Lily May

During the project, one of the participants gave birth to a baby firl. Her group, the Broughton Writers, wrote this blessing to welcome the baby:

We wish for you these simple blessings:
The sound of laughter
The taste of Eccles cakes and tea
The sight of a fox, leaping over a gate
or neon lights reflected in puddles;
The sound of owls at night.

We wish for you
The smell of woodsmoke by a summer riverbank
The smell of bulrushes in the wind
The sight of cherry blossom on the streets
The touch of puppies’ noses.

We wish for you
The sound of blessings, birds singing in a tree.
May you always see the beauty of yourself,
reflected in others’ eyes;
may you taste the joy of a true love’s lips
and never find it grows bitter.

We wish for you
The sight of spring
The smell of success – whatever you want that to mean
The touch of a loving man (or woman!)
The taste of sweet loving lips
A gurgle of content.

Always look at the sky.
Follow your dream.
You are part of a beautiful universe.
We wish you happy.

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