People from across the UK with experience of poverty have created an animation to try and help others understand the challenges of living on the breadline.
Participants at the Thrive Teesside, ATD Fourth World and Dole Animators groups, in Stockton-On-Tees, London and Leeds respectively, have joined forces to try and quash negative stereotypes and help inform policymakers.
Dr Ruth Patrick, from the University of Liverpool’s School of Law and Social Justice, facilitated the project – which is called Poverty to Security – and organised the collaboration between the three groups.
Dr Patrick said: “This type of activity is incredibly important.
“It’s about recognising that people who have direct experiences of poverty and social insecurity, have insight and ideas about what would make a difference to address these problems in the UK.
“Policymakers need to engage with this expertise, if they are to have a chance of developing policies that can effectively address the entrenched – and growing – problem of poverty here in the UK.”
The animation begins by pointing out that millions of people in modern Britain are living in poverty, and that doing so can sometimes “feel like banging your head against a brick wall”.
But by engaging with others in similar circumstances, participants at each group have instead tried to come up with solutions to poverty and its associated impact; identifying the need to change in key areas including making sure the voices of people in poverty are better heard, improving housing and community support, and addressing issues tied to low incomes.
They want other groups and individuals around the country to join with them, and they want policymakers to listen to those who know these circumstances best – people with actual experience of living in poverty.
Rebecca Bromley is a member of the Leeds-based, Dole Animators group. Rebecca said: “The animation is important as we want to raise awareness of the real life struggles that people go through.
“It is also important to collaborate with other groups to share experiences and support one another to speak up about the challenges we face.”
Seamus is an activist at ATD Fourth World in London, he said: “Working together on this common project is important to me, as we learnt from each other.
“We stand on common ground and together have a strong voice.
“Linking with others with experience of poverty is important, as we can work together as one big team, combining our voices together building towards change.”
Tracey Herrington is the Project Manager at Thrive Teesside in Stockton-On-Tees, she said: “It was important for us to visualise our journey, to speak out about the things that matter and use our knowledge and experience to affect real, meaningful change.
“As Martin Luther King Jr said, ‘our lives begin to end the day we become silent about the things that matter’.”
Dr Patrick added: “The hope is that the groups are showing – by coming together – that it is possible to make a difference, and are showing clearly why their own expertise should be better recognised by policymakers and other stakeholders.
“We want to encourage other people with experiences of poverty to speak out and share their experiences and ideas about what could make a difference in addressing poverty and insecurity in the UK.”
To share the animation on social media, please use the hashtags #goodsociety and #makingvoicescount and the link https://youtu.be/yDVBB4VLce0
To find out more about the Poverty to Security project, please visit http://poverty2security.org/