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Annual review 2019–20

Download our annual review and accounts

Annual review 2020–21

2021 conference: watch the recordings

Long read: How do we build dignity, agency & power together?

Dignity, Choice, Hope

Our 2o21 report on the social impact of our Your Local Pantry programme

“I have food in my cupboards and have a bit of money to pay my debts off. The Pantry is not just a place to get food, it is a place to meet friendly staff and make new friends” 

Pantry at No. 5, Stockport 

Click here to find out more about Your Local Pantry

Annual review 2020–21

2021 conference: watch the recordings

Long read: How do we build dignity, agency & power together?

SPARK newsletter winter 2021

Click on the right to download the latest issue of SPARK, our newsletter for supporters of Church Action on Poverty.

Annual review 2020–21

2021 conference: watch the recordings

Long read: How do we build dignity, agency & power together?

Untitled – a poem from ‘Same Boat?’

This poem by Ellis Howard comes from the new anthology 'Same Boat? Poems On Poverty And Lockdown'.

It is Sunday afternoon. Every window is pushed open and usually we can hear the sounds of shouts and tears from Number 46 as they routinely explain to Sarah that the country is in lockdown and why that means she can’t play footie on the field, even if she does Dettol the flies away, but today is quiet. There’s a stillness.

All I can hear is me Mam boiling water in the pan to make minestrone cup-of-soups for me, her and me Grandad. Cup-of-soups are a delicacy in our house but the packed croutons are hastily whipped out because today is the 1966 World Cup Final and me Granddad, sunken into the couch, remnants of wotsits all over his t-shirt, is ready to relive his youth.

I’m not much of a footie fan. The astroturf has been turned into offices and so me Grandad says I didn’t catch the bug young enough. But I still can’t help but feel Martin Peters started the combover revolution five decades before Justin Bieber. Half way through the game, me Grandad is shouting and busting a gut, me Mam looks terrified that his dodgy kidney will flare, but to me it’s hilarious. Before lockdown I’d sit in the library and watch old people kicking off on TikTok and think they were the funniest thing I’d ever seen.

I reckon if I had an iPhone, me Grandad would go viral, we’d be rich and we could eat cup-of-soups and get as many combovers as we wanted.


My text/poetry is mostly concerned with giving a voice to the glorious and complex lives of those who surround me in Liverpool. This piece is an insight into how those living on the breadline have been forced to make do during the pandemic. I am wholly inspired by my family and friends who met COVID-19 and Conservative policy with energy, humour and kindness. This poem is a love letter to those brave souls who history continually tries to undermine, but we don’t let it. X

Cost of living crisis: 6 useful church responses

What is the Right To Food?

Hope story: a united stand against hunger

Vacancy: Speaking Truth to Power Development Coordinator

How we ensure struggles are not ignored

Untitled #1 – a poem from ‘Same Boat?’

This poem by Grace Collins comes from 'Same Boat? Poems On Poverty And Lockdown', an anthology published today by Church Action On Poverty

worry
fear
worry
fear

round and round in my head
can’t sleep
can’t stop thinking

bills
eat
bills
eat

round and round in my head
the voices say, what should I do?

shut up
shut up!

hunger
shame
hunger
shame

round and round in my head
are they judging me?
I can’t ask for help

hope
guilt
hope
guilt

round and round in my head
food boxes
thanks
feed the kids

worry
fear
worry
fear

round and round in my head
every week
nothing changes

joy
understanding
joy
understanding

round and round in my head
a helping hand
no judgement passed

peace
relief
peace
relief!


When the food box arrived during the first week of lockdown, the feeling was of such relief. It was embarrassing to admit we needed help, but for us as a family, it was the inability to be able to book a delivery slot, and get hold of the essentials. As a carer I felt the weight of responsibly fell completely on my shoulders and it was such a relief to have that shared.

Cost of living crisis: 6 useful church responses

What is the Right To Food?

Hope story: a united stand against hunger

Vacancy: Speaking Truth to Power Development Coordinator

How we ensure struggles are not ignored

Same Boat film

A short film written by Ellis Howard and directed by Brody Salmon, inspired by the stories of those with lived experience of poverty during lockdown.

The film was made as a result of creative workshops run by Church Action on Poverty during summer 2020, and launched during the first Challenge Poverty Week England and Wales.

To find out more about the writer and film-maker, you can follow them on Twitter:

Ellis Howard

Brody Salmon

Same Boat? Poems on poverty and lockdown

Poems collated as a result of creative workshops run by Church Action on Poverty's Poet in Digital Residence Matt Sowerby during summer 2020

Annual review 2020–21

2021 conference: watch the recordings

Long read: How do we build dignity, agency & power together?

Untitled – a poem from ‘Same Boat?’

This poem by Brody Salmon comes from 'Same Boat? Poems on poverty and lockdown', an anthology to be published by Church Action on Poverty on 15 October 2020.

Sometimes I squash flies and align them on the windowsill like fingernails. I cough
on park gates as well, see, it isn’t hard to socially distance when I’m socially distant.
This fish bowl is flooded with make believe people, trudging like moths to make
|believe places. You just can’t see it, can you? That’s why I started letting the toast burn,
the baked beans n all! Letting the phone ring and the odours of animal honesty
reek out the house. The neighbour’s cat has been missing a week now.

Nothing says freedom like pausing the prisons, unfolding
prisms, ripping neckties, exchanging white ironed shirts
for pyjamas and slippers. I climb into the old suitcase
that we used to take to the seaside. I climb inside and pull
the zip, leave just enough room for a fingertip, and imagine
seagulls swooping, squawking for fish and chips.

Dad once hit the back of my hand.
I hear arcade machines and pennies
dropping. I miss you dad, but the gulls
won’t go away because they don’t
believe me when I say (scream)
there’s no food in here at all. Truth is,

I’m just too clever
for my own good.


I wrote the poem because there’s something lovable about a freak like my narrator. There’s something intriguing and disturbingly honest about his cynicism that everybody can sort of relate to. This is somebody whose madness is crippling them now that social norms and practice have been stripped from them. This is somebody relishing the isolation of lockdown, and in fact enjoying being locked away from the world, in a time where everybody seems to want to be seen, my character wants to disappear.

Cost of living crisis: 6 useful church responses

What is the Right To Food?

Hope story: a united stand against hunger

Vacancy: Speaking Truth to Power Development Coordinator

How we ensure struggles are not ignored

Nothing changes around here – a poem from ‘Same Boat?’

This poem by Matt Sowerby and Penny Walters comes from 'Same Boat? Poems on poverty and lockdown', an anthology to be published by Church Action on Poverty on 15 October 2020.

We look out for one another, or some of us do.
The older community that has been here since here began,
when the Victorians slums were ripped out,
and the people in them. Faces change – Russian, Zimbabwean,
they keep themselves to themselves mostly.
Here, we have our own microclimate. 
The jobs have been gone so long that unemployment
is almost part of the culture. These are people who spit
the name of Mike Ashley but would kill for a season ticket.
There is something wrong about the children. 
And then there are others. Those same ones you saw
collecting on matchday. Doing deliveries
from the grangermarket, working down the pantry,
Vinny’s, pay what you feel, love. Gobshites with a cause.
Mamma P, who should be home but is shopping for her neighbours.
These people are splitting deliveries between
houses.They don’t shout about it.

In the background, Erskine’s wall rises up,
a limping promise, a tropical bird on the roadside.


this poem is based on real experiences of living on the Byker Estate. The estate is instantly recognisable from its brightly coloured early 1970s buildings, which replaced Victorian slums which had been condemned unfit for human habitation almost three decades before. Byker Wall was designed by the socialist architect Ralph Erskine, based on consultations with the area’s residence. However, following completion, fewer than 20% of original residents were housed at Byker Wall. Like many inner-city urban housing areas, Byker experiences high levels of poverty. This poem is a tribute to the residents of Byker who were working to support their neighbours long before lockdown began.

Cost of living crisis: 6 useful church responses

What is the Right To Food?

Hope story: a united stand against hunger

Vacancy: Speaking Truth to Power Development Coordinator

How we ensure struggles are not ignored

The price of conformity – a poem from ‘Same Boat?’

This poem by Jayne Gosnall comes from 'Same Boat? Poems on poverty and lockdown', an anthology to be published by Church Action on Poverty on 15 October 2020.

The Price of Conformity

School shoes. Cost big. Growing feet
Struggle. Worry. Missed heartbeats
Wish that those who make the rules
Remember our kids go to school.

White shirts. Black skirts. Black trousers 
Black socks. Black shoes. No trainers. 
All kids hate them, fight against ‘em
No colour, stripes or fancy laces

Special school ties snag and fray.
Blazers shine more every day.
Mates might mock a hand-me-down
so got to buy new, scour the town.

Boy says all his mates have Vans
forgets they also have helpful Nans.
Girl says Kickers fine for her
I’m wishing that their Dad would care

Benefits not fit for purpose.
Constant fear. State couldn’t care less
When they’re laughed at ‘cause of me
of course I feel guilty.

Boy comes home after PE
says “My shoes got nicked!” expecting me
to solve the problem, like they’re free.
They’re our food budget for the week.
I cry so hard can barely speak


Every time I think of my sisters and brothers struggling to raise their children in poverty, I remember crying over my son’s stolen school shoes.

Cost of living crisis: 6 useful church responses

What is the Right To Food?

Hope story: a united stand against hunger

Vacancy: Speaking Truth to Power Development Coordinator

How we ensure struggles are not ignored