As we launch Round 4 of The Poverty Truth Commission, we are also delighted to launch our new monthly blog series.
Jane and Sadia, two of our new Commissioners will be blogging each month, sharing their thoughts, experiences and what it means to be a Poverty Truth Commissioner.
In the first of the series, Jane reflects on the launch of the new Commission and her thoughts around listening.
“It’s one thing reading about poverty in the newspapers or hearing about it on radio or television. It’s shocking and it makes you angry. But it’s a completely different thing to sit up close and hear someone’s personal story.”
In the second of the series, Sadia reflects on the struggles of families within her community.
“Poverty comes in many forms, it does not only affect the mothers mental health but also children, for example young people in school can be bullied, mocked and experience pressure from peer groups”
In the third of the series, Jane reflects on the last full gathering of the Commission.
“Once I had a house, a car. I worked until I could no longer do so to look after my son and his special needs. There was no job that would fit around his needs. I lost the house. I lost the car. Being on benefit hung heavy on my shoulders”
Continuing the series Sadia Listens to the issues in her community
“Benefit cuts are affecting families: mothers walking further with children looking for food banks. Worrying about cuts, terrified. I wish I could help them but I can’t”
Jane talks about the 3 Working Groups looking at Mental Health, Asylum and Cuts and Assessments in the most recent installment of our series
“I have seen friends and family fearful, anxious and extremely worried at the prospect not just of losing their benefits but of the process of being ‘assessed’. What a cold, frightening word.
And what exactly are the criteria for that assessment? ”
Sadia reflects on the impact living with poverty has on families seeking asylum in the sixth in the “Inside the Commission” series.
“A lot of people are affected by this. The behaviour of young people is affected by growing up in poverty.
Yet still I live with hope that things can change.”
The 7th blog in our “Inside the Commission” Series explores Jane’s thoughts on children, childhood and the Working Group on Cuts and Assessments.
“Our group has decided to focus on children and young people, in particular the impact of cuts on Child Tax Credits and on children with special needs as they move to adult services.
I am so glad to be part of this group.”
For October, Jane considers the reasons for the existence of foodbanks, and the importance of working together to see real and tangible change.
“Most people give money or volunteer their time to the Trust organising food banks not out of ‘compassion’ but out of shame and anger that food banks should be necessary in a country as wealthy as Britain. Food banks are necessary. They should not be necessary, certainly not on the current scale, and it is within our power to change that.”
Breaking from the usual format, in the first blog post of the new year a current Commissioner reflects on the recent publication “Poverty Safari” written by a previous member of the Poverty Truth Commission.
“what makes the book compelling is his often angry perspective on how the world looks from where he grew up in a troubled family in Pollok…He describes the stress of living in poverty, naming it as “the connective tissue between social problems such as addiction, violence and chronic illness”