Poverty Alliance: challenging stigma

The PSE linked up with Poverty Alliance Scotland to highlight key findings from their ‘EPIC’ project. This project brings together people directly affected by poverty with policy and decision-makers to achieve change. A key issue experienced by people on low-income is the stigma of poverty.

One of the main issues people on low-income face is the stigma that comes with living in poverty. In Scotland a ‘short-life working group’, made up of people on low income, government civil servants and local authorities, was brought together to address this issue as part of the Poverty Alliance Evidence, Participation Change project (EPIC). The group produced a short film to challenge negative perceptions of people who receive state benefits. This innovative film illustrates how sensitive issues can be highlighted, while still protecting the identity of the person who tells their story, a key ethical concern for the working group. You can view the film here.


This film is the copyright of The Poverty Alliance, Scotland.

The short life working group on tackling stigma officially came to an end in 2010 but following discussions with people on low income through the Poverty Alliance’s Evidence Participation Change (EPIC) project, a mini campaign was launched to continue their work, called Stick your labels! A small group of community activists, all with experience of poverty, continue to meet to take action as part of this campaign. In conjunction with volunteer journalists and a media officer from Oxfam, the group have taken part in media interview training on how to gather stories from their own communities.

View their video

Between 2009 and 2013 EPIC, a four-year Big Lottery funded project, also ran a series of participatory research projects with people on low income. Issues included young peoples struggles with transitions to employment, reintegration challenges faced by ex-offenders in west central Scotland and the issues faced by women living on low income in rural contexts. Download their research findings and reports:

About this project

The EPIC project brought together activists from all backgrounds to influence the development of anti-poverty policies in Scotland. The project officially came to an end in May 2013, but the Alliance is taking forward some of the key recommendations for future work.

For more information on Poverty Alliance, the Stick your labels! campaign and EPIC contact Robin Tennant.

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