Calling young poets: write about ending hunger!

End-Hunger-logoThe End Hunger UK campaign is inviting young people to write poems about hunger. End Hunger UK Campaign Manager Rachel Alcock introduces this exciting competition.

Calling all young poets – we need you. On 26 March, End Hunger UK and the Poetry Society and Young Poets Network launched the End Hunger UK Poetry Challenge.

I work—two jobs—and my husband works full-time. We should be able to afford good, nutritious food. We should be able to afford food. The reality, though, is multiple days when dinner has been a tin of chopped tomatoes, some Tesco Value dried mixed herbs, and 20p pasta; we have to regularly feed our family on around £1.50 for the entire meal—not per head. By the time our rent is paid, money put on the gas and electric keys, the bills paid…there’s nothing left. We drink water, we eat the cheapest food, but we struggle to afford even that.
(Kathleen Kerridge – author and journalist)

We know that with more and more people relying on food banks and charities’ help to eat, the situation is reaching breaking point. But what we don’t always hear are the voices of young people – and their thoughts and feelings around food poverty.

Competition theme

At the end of 2017 End Hunger launched our policy document A Menu to End Hunger which has nine recommendations for governments across the UK, on how to address this crisis. One of these recommendations is for our government to take the bold and vital step of regularly measuring ‘household food insecurity’, or hidden hunger.
Why? Because, in order to tackle UK hunger we need the government to lead on some radical policy changes. And radical policy change cannot happen without hard facts and evidence to justify them.
And we want young people to join us in calling for this measure. Allowing them to get their voices heard by decision-makers at the same time.
Plus, if you are a teacher we have produced resources for you to use to encourage your students to think about food poverty in the UK.

How to enter

This challenge is for writers aged 11-25 who currently reside in the UK. Poems will be judged in three age categories: 11-15 years, 16-18 years and 19-25 years. The deadline is midnight, Sunday 6 May 2018. You can send a poem written down, or a recording as a video or as an audio file. You can send as many poems as you like. Written poems must not exceed 40 lines, and audio/video recordings of poems must not exceed two minutes.
Find out how to enter on the Poetry Society webpage.


Selected poets from each age category will be published on Young Poets Network, and sent an exclusive Young Poets Network notebook as well as some goodies from the End Hunger UK campaign. Poems will be judged by a representative from The Poetry Society and Casia William, Children’s Poet Laureate for Wales (Bardd Plant Cymru).
Winners from each age category will be invited to London on Saturday May 26th for a specialist poetry performance masterclass and to have your poem professionally filmed.
For teachers entering 10 poems or more, your names will be entered into a prize draw for the chance to win a free poet visit to your school.
Selected poems will be published and be included in a touring exhibition organised by End Hunger UK in June-October 2018 – meaning that winners’ voices will be heard by MPs and have the chance to make real change.