Challenge Poverty Week in England and Wales
By Niall Cooper, Church Action on Poverty
Are you ready? It’s time to come together with people and groups around Greater Manchester and across the country, for the third Challenge Poverty Week in England and Wales.
This year, the week is focusing on dignity, looking at how that can be maintained for everyone amid the cost-of-living emergency.
The week runs from October 17th to 23rd 2022, and one of the launch events is happening here in Manchester, on Monday 17th. Local people with first-hand experience of poverty and low-income will meet with local politicians, organisations and business people at Central Hall, from 10am to 3pm.
You don’t need to be a big organisation to take part though… everyone can and should get involved in Challenge Poverty Week. After all, we all want to live with dignity – to be treated as fully human, to have choices and be able to participate in our community. But this winter, the soaring cost of living will deny that dignity to millions of people. People will be forced to go hungry, or cold, and to make agonising choices about which fundamental essentials they will have to go without.
We want to speak up together, challenging the unjust systems and policies that are causing and exacerbating poverty, but also celebrating the work of people, organisations and communities across England and Wales who are coming together to uphold people’s dignity at this time.
Challenge Poverty Week will be a chance for people and communities facing poverty to stand up with dignity, share stories, and speak out for a just solution to the cost-of-living crisis. This is the third time Challenge Poverty Week has been held in England and Wales, following on from its success over the past decade in Scotland.
Your group could organise a discussion or storytelling session, join in the discussion online, invite politicians or journalists to one of your organisation’s regular events or sessions, or write to your MPs and councillors to say what needs to change.
Challenge Poverty Week is an opportunity to highlight the incredible work being done by community groups around the country, and to show what can and must be done differently.
Last year, we saw the publication of new report into how people on low incomes were affected during the pandemic, lots of fascinating discussions, meetings with politicians and journalists, and the Greater Manchester Big Poverty Conversation. This year, we are looking forward to a further mixture of online and in-person events, including film screenings, meetings with politicians, church discussions, and a wide range of campaigns around the cost-of-living.
Online activities can be just as effective as offline ones – sometimes even more so. You can reach more people without geographic or travel barriers, and some people are more comfortable sharing with an online meeting than addressing a busy room of people. Do bear in mind, however, that not everyone has good internet access – so judge for yourself whether to make your event physical or digital.
The week’s aims are to:
- Build awareness and support for long-term sustainable responses to the pandemic and cost-of-living
emergency, that focus on enhancing the dignity and agency of people in poverty.
- Raise voices in unison against poverty and shine a light on visions for a more just, compassionate and opportunity-filled country.
- Show what is already being done at community level to challenge and alleviate poverty.
- Change the conversation around poverty and help end the stigma.
You can download the Challenge Poverty Week toolkit, packed with ideas and tips, HERE.
Let’s speak up as one, stand up for dignity, and challenge poverty together!