Poverty affects different communities in different ways. In 2009, people living in deprived areas of Glasgow were invited to take part in a new Scottish initiative called The Poverty Truth Commission. As part of this process, they produced a series of short films about poverty and poverty-related issues.
Three of these films can be seen here.
These films are the copyright of The Poverty Truth Commission, Scotland.
‘The good thing about Govanhill is that there is quite a lot of stuff that happens and lots of parks and fun stuff to do. The bad thing about Govanhill is there are lots of gangsters around.’
The Poverty Truth Commission set out to give people in Glasgow the chance to ‘bear witness’ publicly on their experiences of poverty and social injustice with the ultimate aim of influencing policy and practice in the city. During this process, there was a series of on-going collaborations between local decision makers and communities working together on local poverty issues. In April 2011, decision makers were invited to listen to the findings and hear from the participants in the project and to come back with responses. Extracts from this session can be seen on the Poverty Commission website.
The Commission focused on three main areas: stereotyping poverty, kinship care and overcoming violence.
Politicians, the media and wider society still find it acceptable to describe people from deprived communities as scroungers and benefit fraudsters (see Flaws in the government’s troubled families strategy). Negative stereotyping can make people feel hopeless and ashamed of where they live. The residents of deprived areas involved in the Commission wanted to change the way they were portrayed in the media, so, with the help of the Commission, they set out to redress this stereotyping.
Kinship care involves relatives (usually grandparents) who become permanent carers for children whose parents are unable to look after them. This is usually due to addiction or bereavement. In Scotland, 2,990 children are recognised as being in ‘formal’ kinship care and an estimated 17,500 more children are in this situation ‘informally’. Most of them receive little or no financial, educational or psychological support. This leaves many of them in extreme poverty and struggling with physical and mental problems. The Commission has been working with Scottish decision makers to address this issue.
The Poverty Truth Commission sees violence as an issue exacerbated by poverty and inequality. The Alternatives to Violence working group that explored this question included an academic, a senior police officer and people with direct experience of poverty and violence in our poorest communities. They have explored topics including domestic violence, early intervention, gang culture and community disempowerment.
For more information, visit The Poverty Truth Commission website.