The national charity that won the ballot for our mission giving was Church Action on Poverty. It was set up in 1982 and has been working to end UK poverty.
This year they are launching a new long term strategy to grow a movement of churches, community partners and people struggling against poverty themselves to reclaim dignity, agency and power together.
They want to expand the number of food pantries in the country rather than food banks.For a small weekly fee, members can choose a basket of food which gives them dignity, choice and hope. They also build community as they are member run. There are now over 60 such clubs and 11,000 families are benefiting with a saving of about £780 on annual shopping bills and also avoiding food waste from the supermarkets etc
Church Action on Poverty is also helping people, mostly women on low incomes, to meet and save small amounts of money in Self Reliant Groups and so exercise their agency and develop their own ways of tackling poverty. Each group makes its own decision, shares skills, learns together and generates income from selling crafts,cookery or other creative goods and they decide how to spend the money together.
Changing unjust structures in society is the third strand of their strategy ie using their power to make change together. Local people experiencing hardship with support from their Food Power programme, speak out for change within their communities and nationally. So they speak against low pay, extortionate lending, unfair practices and other injustices. Church Action on Poverty wants to train more people to speak truth to power.
There is more information on their website, together with stories from people experiencing poverty and hardship now.
This from Luke 4:18, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he anointed me to preach the good news to the poor.He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives, and recovery of sight to the blind, to set free those who are oppressed.”
The Outreach Team.
PS Our international charity, USPG, is working in Europe with local chaplaincies to scale up their local refugee response and be able to respond to long-term issues caused by the devastating conflict. £200k had been raised by the end of March.