Church Action on Poverty would normally be preparing for a daylong conference with considerable crowds to share poverty stories.

But the ongoing covid-19 pandemic and lockdown 2.0 has left them with no other option but to host the annual conference online tomorrow for the first time.

The poverty charity is a national organisation but has been based in Salford for the past few years.

Communications manager, Liam Purcell, said: “We mobilise churches mainly to tackle the root causes of poverty.

“Our work is always lead by people who have experienced poverty themselves because they are experts on how to solve it.

“We campaign issues like improving the benefits system, living wage, and policy issues, but we also do direct work in communities alongside people.”

He continued: “A lot of that community work has been in the Greater Manchester area because we have got active connections, especially in Salford.”

Mr. Purcell briefly explained what to expect at this year’s conferences and how poverty ratings have increased during the covid-19 pandemic:

Church Action on Poverty urges as many people as possible to get involved in the online conference to raise awareness of poverty within the UK.

Mr. Purcell said: “We want to inspire more people to be part of the movement to work together and know they can make a difference.

“We can strengthen our communities and stop people from being swept into poverty.

“We can amplify and lift the voices of people who are experts by the experience of poverty.”

Salford City Council released the following statistics on some of the work they have done to tackle poverty:



Mr. Purcell revealed that: “The conference is on zoom from 10 am until 12 pm this Saturday [21 November] and you can register in advance.

“If people email, we can send them a link to register and take part.”

Mr. Purcell explained that under normal circumstances, the annual conferences would last a full day.

He said: “It would usually last at least three or four hours, sometimes six or seven.

“We would normally meet on a Saturday in a church or a conference centre in different parts of the country, usually across the north.

“The content will be very similar online, we will be sharing stories, and there will be small groups where people can discuss their own experiences and ideas as well.”

He continued: “It must be interactive; we have found that being online has opened up a lot of new opportunities for us.

“There have been people who couldn’t get to physical events which are suddenly more connected and part of the movement.

Church Action on Poverty’s ‘Your Local Pantry’ community-run food clubs. Image: Liam Purcell.

Mr. Purcell said: “We have made a lot more connections between people in our community work and churches.

“People are working together and listening to one another.

“We have been doing a lot of work with poetry and filmmaking over the summer.

“We are going to be showcasing some of that on Saturday.

“That is something that we have found easier to do online because we can get people together to share our ideas.”

Mr. Purcell explained that lockdown 2.0 had not caused any difficulties in preparing for the annual conference.

He said: “It hasn’t made a big difference to us because we have been working from home and remotely through all of this.

A still from Church Action on Poverty’s short film ‘Same Boat’, which will be previewed at the conference. Image: Liam Purcell.

“We are not going to try and get back to normal until it is safe enough to do so.”

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