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Reform Magazine | December 16, 2017

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Niall Cooper: Stories of poverty

Niall Cooper: Stories of poverty

niall_cooperStories from the world of poverty

Poverty isn’t pretty. In fact, it can be traumatic, raw and emotionally and physically draining. And that’s only listening to other people sharing their stories of prostitution, drugs, self harm, abuse, domestic violence, rough sleeping, mental health breakdowns, benefit removals, fleeing from terror, lives unlived, financial, emotional and physical despair …

Welcome to the Salford Poverty Truth Commission – an attempt, not to define or ‘solve’ poverty but to share experiences with people in public life to see what happens. In July, 15 hugely brave individuals shared their deeply personal stories of poverty at a packed public event to launch the Commission.

Jayne had a good job and a happy family life, until her husband left her in the middle of the night with more than £30,000 of secretly-amassed debts. From that point on, Jayne’s life spiralled downwards, forcing her to give up her job. She become haunted by bills and debt collectors, turning to sex work for financial aid and abusing alcohol.

Eventually, her children were removed by social services. ‘That’s when living in poverty really kicked in,’ she recalled. …

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This is an extract from the September 2016 edition of  Reform.

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