As part of Challenge Poverty Week on 12-18 September, a Salford-based charity, Church Action on Poverty, launched a poetry anthology which includes poetry about poverty and lockdown.

The book collates dozens of work by people who have experienced poverty in the UK, and those who wish to end it. Contributions include first time poets, experienced poets and Salford residents.

Image courtesy of Church Action on Poverty.

Jayne Gosnall, 57, is one of these Salford residents, and shares why she got involved in the project. “There is often this sense that there is a ‘worthy poor’ and the ‘not very worthy poor’. 

“My fear around coronavirus is that the people who lose their jobs during this period, and those who suffer poverty for the first time, they might be seen as the ‘worthy poor’, whereas people who have suffered long-term […] may not be seen as the ‘worthy poor’. I worry that they will get forgotten about.

“But this will hopefully stop that. What creativity does is it allows people to speak from their heart, whether it’s drama, writing poetry, or painting, or, you know, other forms of art.”

Another contributor, Shaun Kelly, 77, adds: “It’s funny that when things get tough, people like to go back to poetry, go back to song.

“Basically they go back to words and using language in a way that works to them, and I think that’s one good thing about this project.

“People have come to it from a lot of different directions and what they’ve ended up with is pretty impressive.

“It’s an outpouring of expressing their own difficulty in this particular pandemic, which has been very damaging.”

Infographic created by Aroob Raja.

Poverty is the focus of the Christian social-justice charity, as it is a growing issue across the UK and especially in Salford, as shown through the figures above. The effect the pandemic had on those in poverty is explored in the anthology and the short film of the same name.

Gosnall shares: “[The book] is just a part of the message that we’re not all in the same boat, and it shows us why.

“It also shows us the resilience that people have, and the loyalty and determination that people have to help each other, which we’ve seen a lot of in Salford.

“I know this is really heavy stuff we’re talking about in an art form, in poetry, but this stuff is real. People are dying because of poverty directly.”

Kelly adds: “Helping people to stay connected is where [the book has] been most successful, particularly at this time. Because people aren’t connected, they’re a series of individual units, and a book like this, a project like this, brings people together. And once you’ve got people together, you’ve got a much more powerful voice in order to fight poverty. Poverty isn’t just money, it’s ideas.”


Same Boat is available for a free download here, or can be purchased for £5.99 here.

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