When people in poverty get the opportunity to tell their stories, and to speak truth to power, real change happens. It’s the only way we will loosen the grip of poverty in the UK.
Here are some stories of how Church Action on Poverty has supported people to speak truth to power recently.
Martin Green is a lone parent who lives in Halifax. Unable to work, he has found again and again that the benefits system – which should act as an anchor for Martin and his children – has instead swept them further into poverty.
“The amount paid in benefits means you’re facing impossible situations. In a good month I can get stuff for food but never anything extra. If I need a new pair of shoes for example, I need to take money off what I have for food…
“I just snack; I don’t eat proper meals. The children have always come first and I just eat small bits here and there. I sometimes go all day without eating. If my lad is out with his mates, I will sometimes not eat… If I’m in the house on my own all day I’ll tend not to eat until 6 or 7 o’clock if at all, and I know that if I can keep that food in the cupboard a bit longer, that’s another day of survival.
“Because I am in the church circle, I have a lot of charitable friends who are helping me. I’m okay for being fed but I have no money to do anything with my sons, like go out to the cinema or football. That’s what is the hardest thing for me.”
With Church Action on Poverty’s support, Martin has been sharing his experiences locally and nationally.
He featured in our 2014 documentary on the right to food, and told his story to decision-makers in Westminster.
He spoke eloquently at the launch of the End Hunger UK campaign in 2016.
And through his church in Halifax, he is involved in many initiatives that are loosening the grip of poverty locally.
Martin is speaking truth to power, and calling for action to transform the unjust structures that trapped him – and many others – in poverty.
Church Action on Poverty opened my eyes to injustice and gave me the courage to speak out
——— Martin Green
“I’d say to people who’ve been in the same situation as me: Seek help. And open your mouth. Speak out.”
At Church Action on Poverty, we know that we can only unlock UK poverty as part of a powerful national movement. That’s why we always work in partnership with communities and other organisations.
As part of our Speaking Truth to Power programme, we offer small grants to some of those partners. Our support enables them to speak truth to power and loosen the grip of poverty in their communities.
Scroll down to see how some of these partners have already been speaking truth to power…
Having worked alongside young people in Blackburn-with-Darwen on their ‘Hangry’ food poverty campaign, in 2019 we supported them to work with a local film-maker on a powerful short film.
Edgelands highlights the issues the young people are concerned about: food poverty; drugs and knives; homelessness; disability and carers.
With our support, ‘Food Glorious Food’, the UK’s first ‘food bank choir’, gave an inspirational performance at Sheffield Cathedral for the launch of End Hunger UK’s new campaign in October 2019. Choir leader Yo Tozer-Loft said:
“People were really motivated by the chance to lobby their MPs about food poverty. Even people who didn’t think they were singers said, ‘I want to raise my voice somehow.’”
Dusty Forge in Cardiff was the first project in Wales to open a member-run food store as part of our ‘Your Local Pantry’ network.
A grant from Church Action on Poverty helped them to set up and launch their Pantry, which is now helping to ensure that people in their neighbourhood can access good, affordable food with dignity.
Church Action on Poverty plays a lead role in the national End Hunger UK coalition. But we can only end UK hunger if we build a powerful movement for change in communities across the country.
Church Action on Poverty helped people in Cornwall to build their own local End Hunger group, which launched with an inspiring event in October 2019.
When you donate to Church Action on Poverty, your money really helps to loosen the grip of poverty in UK communities.
Here are the ways you can help more people speak truth to power:
We’ll send you regular emails with updates on our work and simple actions you can take to close the gap between rich and poor.
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