3 key ways we will be challenging poverty this autumn: Join us

This autumn, Church Action on Poverty will be working harder than ever to challenge poverty, and we hope you’re up for joining us in this urgent task.

By our director, Niall Cooper.

We will be joining with others on three national campaigns to speak truth to power over the next two months.  With others, we will be making the case for urgent Government action to ensure that the millions of families who have been swept into poverty and debt as a result of Covid 19 are offered a lifeline to keep them afloat through the rough seas ahead.

Quite literally, millions of people have been swept into poverty, unemployment and debt as a direct result of the economic impact of Covid 19. People who were previously able to keep their head above water are now in severe difficulty. Others, who had been just staying afloat, now face being overwhelmed by circumstances entirely beyond their control.

1: Rishi Sunak can provide struggling families with a lifeline

Amongst all the other measures the Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, has taken over the past months, few have been more important to struggling families than the extra £20 a week on the basic rate of Universal Credit.

This has been a lifeline for many families as they’ve struggled to get through the coronavirus storm.  However, it is due to end in April 2021, whipping the vital lifeline away. In October, the Chancellor has a chance to do the right thing and announce that hard pressed families will be able to keep the extra £20 a week on a permanent basis. 

2: Marcus Rashford: Speaking truth to power on child food poverty

As the schools re-open this week, there’s much more to be done to ensure children are able to focus on their studies – rather than having to worry about where their next meal is coming from.

It’s this goal – ending child food poverty in Britain – which Manchester United and England footballer, Marcus Rashford, now has in his sights.  Marcus himself grew up in poverty in Wythenshawe in south Manchester, and knew as a teenager what it was to go without food.  That is what is motivating him to speak truth to power

“Food poverty is contributing to social unrest,” he wrote, reflecting on a series of recent meetings with families in need of the same support he counted on as a child. He described “watching a young boy keeping it together whilst his mother sobbed alongside him, feeling like he has to step up to protect his family and alleviate some of that worry. He was nine years old.”

“I know that feeling,” he wrote. “I remember the sound of my mum crying herself to sleep to this day, having worked a 14-hour shift, unsure how she was going to make ends meet. That was my reality.”

Marcus is backing calls on the Chancellor, to fund the implementation of three key policy recommendations from the national food strategy, a Government-commissioned report highlighting huge economic and health inequalities, which will be aggravated by the coronavirus crisis. These include:

  • extending free school meals to all families in receipt of Universal Credit
  • rolling out the Holiday food and activities programme, designed to tackle the growing problem of ‘holiday hunger’ nationwide.

3: Challenge Poverty Week – coming soon!

Later this week we will be announcing plans for the first ever Challenge Poverty Week in England. The week, running from October 12th to 18th, is modelled on the successful Challenge Poverty Week which has been running in Scotland for the past seven years.

Challenge Poverty Week will provide an opportunity to celebrate the work that a wide range of organisations are doing to challenge poverty across the country, and to build awareness and support for long term solutions to poverty that focus on enhancing the dignity and agency of people in poverty themselves. It will change the conversation around poverty and help end the stigma of living on a low income. 

Watch this space for more!

Sheffield Poverty Update, September 2020

SPARK newsletter, autumn 2020

Book review: No Fixed Abode

3 key ways we will be challenging poverty this autumn: Join us

Church Action on Poverty North East 2020 AGM, 25 September

Let’s walk upon the water

Book review: No Fixed Abode

3 key ways we will be challenging poverty this autumn: Join us

Church Action on Poverty North East 2020 AGM, 25 September

Church Action on Poverty North East 2020 AGM, 25 September

Has there been a faith response to COVID-19? Find out what's been happening around the North East.

Join our local group in the North East on Zoom for their 2020 Annual General Meeting.

Friday 25 September
2-4pm

Reflect on where we are now in the North East with

Revd Deirdre Brower Latz
Principal of Nazarene College Manchester
Facilitator for Church Action on Poverty’s ‘Church on the Margins’ programme in Manchester

Click below to send us an email and book your place; we will send you the Zoom link.

Sheffield Poverty Update, September 2020

SPARK newsletter, autumn 2020

Book review: No Fixed Abode

3 key ways we will be challenging poverty this autumn: Join us

Church Action on Poverty North East 2020 AGM, 25 September

Book review: No Fixed Abode

3 key ways we will be challenging poverty this autumn: Join us

Church Action on Poverty North East 2020 AGM, 25 September

Love and unity in a UK food desert

Our latest podcast episode hears how community pantries have responded to the pandemic. Hit the play button below to listen.

Sheffield Poverty Update, September 2020

SPARK newsletter, autumn 2020

Book review: No Fixed Abode

3 key ways we will be challenging poverty this autumn: Join us

Church Action on Poverty North East 2020 AGM, 25 September

Let’s walk upon the water

Book review: No Fixed Abode

3 key ways we will be challenging poverty this autumn: Join us

Church Action on Poverty North East 2020 AGM, 25 September

Sheffield Poverty Update August 2020

Poverty Update is the regular newsletter of the local Church Action on Poverty group in Sheffield.

The August 2020 issue includes details of plans for a virtual Pilgrimage, and an in-depth article about food insecurity and social isolation. 

Sheffield Poverty Update, September 2020

Book review: No Fixed Abode

3 key ways we will be challenging poverty this autumn: Join us

Church Action on Poverty North East 2020 AGM, 25 September

Vacancy: Your Local Pantry Scottish Development Worker

Do you share our vision of a UK in which everyone can live a full life, free from poverty?  Do you want to work as part of a team bringing about meaningful change?

This role offers the opportunity to use your knowledge and skills in building relationships, project management, delivering training and creating networks as part of a small dynamic team.

You will work alongside other Church Action on Poverty staff and partners, within the Your Local Pantry programme to support Pantry development and expansion across Scotland.

You will provide local partners with training, advice and support to set up operationally successful pantries within the ‘Your Local Pantry’ network; support funding applications for Pantry start-ups; and proactively seek out potential new Pantry partners across the country.

This is a 14-hours-a-week role for an initial 12 months, working from home initially but eventually from Faith in Community Scotland offices in Glasgow with travel across Scotland. The salary equates to £27,455 pa pro rata over 12 months, plus a 10% employer’s pension contribution and generous holiday entitlements.

Closing date for applications:
10am, Thursday 20 August 2020.

Interviews will be via video-link on Wednesday 26 or Thursday 27 August 2020.

For further details and an application form, download the job pack below.

Sheffield Poverty Update, September 2020

SPARK newsletter, autumn 2020

Book review: No Fixed Abode

3 key ways we will be challenging poverty this autumn: Join us

Church Action on Poverty North East 2020 AGM, 25 September

Book review: No Fixed Abode

3 key ways we will be challenging poverty this autumn: Join us

Church Action on Poverty North East 2020 AGM, 25 September

Vacancy: Challenge Poverty Week Intern

Do you share our vision of a UK in which everyone can live a full life, free from poverty?  Do you want to work as part of a team bringing about meaningful change?

This internship offers opportunities to develop skills in event coordination, partner engagement and social media and communications as part of a small dynamic team. 

You will work alongside other Church Action on Poverty staff and partners, to help coordinate the first Challenge Poverty Week in England and Wales, including promoting the week, supporting partners to plan (virtual) events and activities, coordinating online training, copywriting materials and communications (website and social media) for the Week. 

As part of this work, you will have the opportunity to develop skills and experience needed for future employment in this field. 

This is a 35-hours-a-week paid internship for an initial 4 months starting as soon as possible, and working from home. The salary equates to £18,200 pro rata over 12 months, plus a 10% employers pension contribution and generous holiday entitlements. 

Closing date for applications:
10am, Thursday 6 August 2020.

Interviews will be held online on Thursday 13 or Friday 14 August 2020.

For further details and application form, download the job pack below. 

Sheffield Poverty Update, September 2020

SPARK newsletter, autumn 2020

Book review: No Fixed Abode

3 key ways we will be challenging poverty this autumn: Join us

Church Action on Poverty North East 2020 AGM, 25 September

Let’s walk upon the water

Book review: No Fixed Abode

3 key ways we will be challenging poverty this autumn: Join us

Church Action on Poverty North East 2020 AGM, 25 September

A Fair and Just Future for Cornwall

‘A Fair and Just Future for Cornwall’ serves as a guiding theme for 21 articles by key stakeholders from across business, faith and the voluntary sector, all of whom articulate their own particular vision of a better future for Cornwall as we emerge from lockdown. There is no attempt to find a common agenda and each author is speaking from their own perspective.

Click on the image to download the report.

In this guest blog, Gavin Barker of Cornwall Independent Poverty Forum shares what they hope the report will achieve. Church Action n Poverty’s partners at End Hunger Cornwall have played an active role in producing this report.

The pandemic is a turning point. The decisions we take now will frame the direction we go in and it is vital that Cornwall has a say over its own future. Too often, the most important decisions about our future are tied to a Westminster agenda that pays little attention to a local context. We want our MPs and council leaders to listen carefully to as wide a range of local voices as possible before taking important decisions. Each of the contributors has decades of experience and expertise in their respective roles. They have a deep understanding of the communities in which they live and serve and they deserve to be listened to.   

We want our MPs and council leaders to listen carefully to as wide a range of local voices as possible before taking important decisions.

The lead organisation is Cornwall Independent Poverty Forum  which has its base in Truro Diocese and the Revd Philip Mounstephen, Bishop of Truro has contributed an article. While our normal focus is poverty issues we felt it was vital to step outside our role and  reach out to as many  groups and organisations as possible, including the business community. 

There is a second purpose to this report and that is to trigger a   wider public conversation. We will be sharing this on social media and we will also be writing to different community groups as well as 20 town and parish councils and inviting them to read the report and share their own vision – what they want for their town and community as well as for Cornwall. Everyone should have a voice. 

Everyone should have a voice. 

It’s very easy for reports such as these to be ‘parked’. They make a brief media splash, our leaders and elected representatives nod their heads, make  positive noises,  a letter is sent to the local press and  everyone moves on.  

We do not want this to happen. We  are asking for a considered response from our MPs as well as council leaders and in three months’ time we will convene a meeting of all contributors to the report in order to share notes, any responses from MPs as well as discuss  next steps.  

Finally, in a year’s time we will gather together again and ask the question ‘What has changed?’ and we will use this report as a baseline by which to measure progress. The outcome of that process is likely to be a second report in answer to that question. The report will therefore be part of a rolling campaign as we all work to  bring  about a fairer, more inclusive and  sustainable future for Cornwall. 

Sheffield Poverty Update, September 2020

SPARK newsletter, autumn 2020

Book review: No Fixed Abode

3 key ways we will be challenging poverty this autumn: Join us

Church Action on Poverty North East 2020 AGM, 25 September

Let’s walk upon the water

A walk in the park

Look after each other

Are you a sun worshipper of follower?

We’re all going on a summer holiday

Book review: No Fixed Abode

3 key ways we will be challenging poverty this autumn: Join us

Church Action on Poverty North East 2020 AGM, 25 September

How one estate pulled together and how covid could change it forever

We must all look out for one another, to ensure nobody is cut adrift.

We continue to hear heartening stories of how communities across the country are pulling together. The video below tells the story of one of our oldest partners, the Cedarwood Trust in North Shields.

 

The project usually operates a range of projects from its community centre on the Meadowell estate. But since lockdown, regulars, neighbours, staff and volunteers have been coming together to ensure nobody in the community is cut adrift.

Watch the video above to hear first-hand from local residents Jean, Henry, Adam, Lindsey, Lynne, Andrew and Dorothy, as well as the staff.

The team have been delivering meals, making phone calls, sourcing spare baby supplies or equipment, and holding cherished doorstep conversations. Wayne Dobson, chief executive at Cedarwood, says the experience of lockdown will change their approach forever. He says there is a tremendous community spirit on the estate, and says:
We cannot just be custodians of the building. We need to be out in the community and that’s one of the things we are going to do differently when this is all over – we are going to continue the community outreach.  

Sheffield Poverty Update, September 2020

SPARK newsletter, autumn 2020

Book review: No Fixed Abode

3 key ways we will be challenging poverty this autumn: Join us

Church Action on Poverty North East 2020 AGM, 25 September

Let’s walk upon the water

Book review: No Fixed Abode

3 key ways we will be challenging poverty this autumn: Join us

Church Action on Poverty North East 2020 AGM, 25 September

The Collective, Pilot – Church responses to the crisis

On Tuesday 14th July we launched the pilot episode of our new show The Collective on Zoom and Facebook Live.

The Collective is an hour of inspiring stories of collective action to promote dignity, agency and power.

In our first episode we explored Church responses to the crisis. You can watch the full episode here.

We heard first from poet Matt Sowerby, who performed a new poem Breath.

After that Adam and Naomi Maynard gave us a tour of St George’s Church in Everton which is home to a Local Pantry, and Vic Ponsonby told us about the network of Pantries across Liverpool. Find out more about Your Local Pantry here.

This was followed by an interview with Cassius Francis from The Just Finance Foundation and Transforming Communities Together in the Black Country and West Midlands. Cassius spoke about what he had been seeing in terms of the impact of the economic crisis brought about by Covid-19 over the past four months.

Professor Anthony Reddie talked about some of the broader challenges facing the church in relation to the current crisis around the issues of race and class.

After this Nick Waterfield from the Parson Cross Initiative in Sheffield told us about the situation on the ground in his community and the challenge for churches as lockdown eases, especially not falling into the trap of thinking of ourselves as the saviours.

Nick was then joined by Stef Benstead in an interactive panel discussion about all the issues covered so far in the programme, particularly challenging churches to respond to the crisis.

The episode finished with a virtual choir from Sheffield singing their version of the Disney classic A Whole New World.

The next episode of The Collective will be 2 pm Tuesday 15th September on Zoom and our Facebook page. It will explore Community responses to the crisis.

Sheffield Poverty Update, September 2020

SPARK newsletter, autumn 2020

Book review: No Fixed Abode

3 key ways we will be challenging poverty this autumn: Join us

Church Action on Poverty North East 2020 AGM, 25 September

Let’s walk upon the water

Book review: No Fixed Abode

3 key ways we will be challenging poverty this autumn: Join us

Church Action on Poverty North East 2020 AGM, 25 September

Dozens join e-choir for rendition of a Disney classic

Community choirs in Sheffield have come together online beautifully.

All of us have been seeking ways to stay connected during the coronavirus outbreak, and to sustain community through these rocky waters.

Today, we’re delighted to share a wonderful piece of community singing, produced by some of our partners and friends in Sheffield.

Community choir coordinator Yo Tozer-Loft worked with an editor and four local choirs, to produce a beautiful community rendition of A Whole New World, from Disney’s Aladdin.

The choirs involved were the Dore & Totley Intergenerational Singing Teapot Choir; the St Mary’s Family Choir;  the Meersbrook URC Community Choir; and the Gleadless Valley Food Glorious Food Choir and Friends.

Yo had previously worked with us last year, when the last of those choirs helped lead our End Hunger UK work and performed at Sheffield Cathedral.

She said: “Early in lockdown, we were making things up as we went along and trying to master the technology. Making a video became a good focus for our Zoom singing and a way of making something collective happen in this time. Some people were really feeling lost and unproductive. 

“There were 35 singers and me. An accompanist made a backing track and we had five sessions learning the parts on Zoom, then shared it all via WhatsApp and our editor (John Swain) put it together.

“I am really delighted with it; I know the work the singers put in. For some it was a really big thing to see themselves featuring solo on camera. It really cheered people up and gave people a lift.

“We had planned to go into a Disney phase with the choirs anyway, and that was one of the songs. A Whole New World suddenly seemed very apt and it was quite serendipitous that it was completed just as new life tentatively set foot with the major unlocking last weekend.”

Sheffield Poverty Update, September 2020

SPARK newsletter, autumn 2020

Book review: No Fixed Abode

3 key ways we will be challenging poverty this autumn: Join us

Church Action on Poverty North East 2020 AGM, 25 September

Let’s walk upon the water

Book review: No Fixed Abode

3 key ways we will be challenging poverty this autumn: Join us

Church Action on Poverty North East 2020 AGM, 25 September