Five Areas of Action for 2015:-

1  Continuing the development of networks at all levels throughout the Diocese.

2  An inspiring Parish Contacts’ morning on Saturday, 21 March.

21 March is also the United Nations Anti-Racism Day.

3  In partnership with CAFOD, promoting the Live Simply Award.

4  In partnership with Church Action on Poverty, promoting a dialogue on the  sort of society we want.

5  Devising a strategy for the approach to the General Election on 7 May.

Report from Poverty in Sheffield Today – Finding a Way Forward

This event towards the end of 2014 was organised by Church Action on Poverty in Sheffield, the People’s Assembly for Sheffield and Sheffield Equality Group.

The Anglican Bishop of Sheffield, Stephen Croft, began by challenging us:

  • To offer practical help
  • To research, listen and discover what poverty is all about
  • To hold out a better vision for our communities

Giving Voice to the Voiceless

One of the strong themes of the day was the need to give voice to people made voiceless by circumstance and beauracy.  The importance of their stories in countering Government denials and media stereotypes was highlighted at the meeting.

Jane Perry, in introducing the session on Listen Up, said that poverty is political but too big an issue to be left to politics.  Poverty is tied up in our structures and therefore we have a personal stake.  To make a  difference we need to

  • Engage with poverty
  • Ask the difficult questions
  • And to listen to those experiencing poverty

Reports were presented from the three Listen Up Projects.  Listen Up is a project where people experiencing poverty are listened to and their stories recorded, http://www.sheffield.anglican.org/listenup.

Benefit sanctions are a main cause of people being referred to food banks.  Tim Arnold, Manager of London Road Citizens Advice Bureau went through their experience of how benefit sanctions are hitting those who are vulnerable.

Professor Alan Walker of Sheffield Fairness Committee and Diocesan Commission Chair, reminded us that a society should be judged on how it treated the most vulnerable.

We were asked to make pledge to make a difference – visit http://www.ourfaircity.co.uk/makeapledge/ for more information about how to do this.

The following resolution was agreed:

“We call upon those seeking to become Sheffield MPs in the 2015 General Election to commit themselves to policies which will clearly improve the standard of living of the more vulnerable people in our city, whether employed or unemployed, and create more fairness across the city.”