Poverty Truth Commission – an exercise in Social Communication

Today (28 March 2018) the Leeds Poverty Truth Commission will present their Humaifesto to the meeting of Leeds City Council. Below we are publishing South Leeds Life’s #PovertyPledge, but first Nick Carter, one of the Commissioners from South Leeds, explains what it’s all about:

That’s a good posh title, but accurate. Poverty Truth is not an organisation but a social movement, it is dedicated to bringing the truth of what poverty is to those who can do something about it.

There are many people in positions of power and authority who want to help the poor, they have access to all sorts of academic and professional resources, but there is one resource that is rarely accessed: people in poverty themselves.

Poverty Truth has a maxim “Nothing about us, without us, is for us.” It is an attempt to put people with direct experience of poverty in contact with the decision makers of this country.

Leeds Poverty Truth consists of three groups. First are the enablers, people and organisations who have located those able and willing to talk and listen. Together For Peace are our main enablers, they have done the administrative work of finding Commissioners, meeting places, food, drink (primarily tea and coffee), emotional support and inspiration.

Second is the first group of Commissioners, or Testifiers if you wish, those who have first hand experience of poverty, real people with mundane problems, not ones who make good television and press stories.

The final group is the second group of Commissioners, people in positions of power and authority who can make things change, and more importantly want to hear the truth of poverty, not the rabble rousing rhetoric that appears in the press.

Has it worked? Most definitely. Over the last two years I and about 15 others have been given encouragement to tell our “Stories”, what has put us in poverty, what poverty truly is, and I’ve news for you it’s not about money.

It’s much more about fear, fear of hunger, fear of homelessness, fear of isolation. Money is a tool that helps cure poverty but not a panacea.

We have been able to speak to people about what we need, people who want to help, want to listen and want to talk. That in itself is a gift, but having listened they are actually changing things for us.

We don’t want to sit on our arses all day swigging White Lightening and watching Jeremy Kyle, although this is a popular belief. We want a little respect, a little support and a little belief that we have worth.

Holidays in the Maldives, new cars, 4 bedroom houses in up market areas are not an option, but a little respect that we are not lazy, sponging vermin is nice. I want to help people in our society, Poverty Truth has helped me to do that.

 

South Leeds Life’s Poverty Pledge

Poverty dehumanises us all. We pledge to make Leeds a more human city by helping people experiencing poverty to tell their stories, so that we can all understand.

We will continue to report on projects and groups that help break down isolation and offer opportunities for people to contribute, no matter their financial position and we will continue to make the news available for free.

 

Find out more about Leeds Poverty Truth and their report – or ‘HuManifesto’ at: www.leedspovertytruth.org.uk

What can your club, group, or company do to help make Leeds a more human city? Take the Poverty Pledge this month!

 

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