Sunday, 15 June 2014

One week until we Turn Up the Volume on Poverty

With a week to go until the Poverty Truth Commission Turns Up the Volume on Poverty, the excitement amongst the participants is beginning to mount. Speeches are being timed, videos edited and comedy routines refined and polished.

It will be the actual messages, however, and not their method of delivery, which will remain within the memories of the audience for a long time.

Contained within the performances are the real lived experiences of people in poverty.

At times on Friday those listening to the rehearsals were brought close to tears, feeling both anger and a sense of despair. There was also, however, a large amount of laughter in the room and a resounding feeling of hope prevailed. 

A belief that by standing up to have their voice heard, people in poverty are making a difference to their situation and the lives of others.

The breadth of subject matter covered in the stories is remarkable. There are experiences of in-work poverty. There are now more people in Scotland living in poverty in households where at least one person is working than in homes without an employed individual. Stories of how unjust stigma created and perpetuated by journalists, politicians and society more broadly, tarnishes the self-esteem and well-being of its victims.

There are examples of welfare reforms disproportionately and unfairly hitting the poorest and most disadvantaged in society, further deepening inequality. There is also anger at the presence of foodbanks in Scotland, and shame at being forced to use them. There are stories of how those on low incomes have to pay more for food, fuel and financial services, further trapping them in poverty.

Amongst the anger, injustice, and sheer relentlessness of it all, however, there is a burning sense of hope.

Hope for a better society where we can overcome stigma and no longer have foodbanks.
A Scotland where, regardless of its constitutional framework, people have their values and skills recognised properly. Where we, collectively, work towards reducing inequality, not increasing it.

Here in lies the key to it all. Not only will hearing the stories help to open our eyes to the injustices and hardships faced by those on low incomes. The process will also show us the expert input of those in poverty.

If we are serious about tackling poverty as a society, we must involve those with experience at the heart of the decision making process.

If you are serious about the need to reduce and eradicate poverty in Scotland then please come along to our event on Saturday as we Turn up the Volume on Poverty.

To register at this free event click here; call 0141 248 2911; or email #TurnItUp2014

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