04 June 2006
‘Challenging Poverty’, a new campaign to tackle poverty in Britain, has been launched today.
An initiative of the Church Urban Fund (CUF), the campaign will raise awareness of the plight of the 11.4 million people living below the poverty line in this country and encourage action in local communities.
The ‘Challenging Poverty’ campaign will enable CUF to continue its pioneering work with the top 10 per cent of the poorest communities in England. CUF is one of the few national organisations that invest in grass-roots projects which work to eradicate the negative effects of poverty, but find it hard to get funding to continue or start projects that transform people’s lives.
Challenging Poverty is a milestone in CUF’s history as this is the first time the charity has launched a high profile public awareness campaign – in the past it has worked quietly ‘behind the scenes’, supporting local projects. This has been prompted by the extension of its remit by the Church of England, and findings from a recent Ipsos MORI report commissioned by CUF. The Ipsos MORI report revealed wide acknowledgment of poverty in Britain (87%), and yet broad recognition that people who are poor tend to go unnoticed (63%).
Fran Beckett, Chief Executive Officer of the Church Urban Fund, said: “We live in the fifth richest country in the world and yet 20 percent of people live below the poverty line with 3.4 million of them being children. It is staggering that this level of poverty still exists in the 21st century and it is a scandal so many people believe impoverishment is invisible, when it is happening right on our doorstep.
“In this country everyone is aware of poverty overseas because of the stark contrast between lives in the west and the developing world, yet poverty is deep rooted in our communities.
We know that children raised in poverty are at least twice as likely to be poor adults and those living in deprived areas are generally more at risk of developing long-term illness and disability, and more likely to be the subject of crime.1”
Challenging Poverty will make a significant difference as it focuses solely on helping people living in this country and will result in sustainable projects being launched in the poorest local areas that will have a long-lasting impact on the community.
“CUF grants are allocated through the Church of England diocesan areas allowing us to deliver essential support to the places of greatest local need. This does not exclude other faiths from applying for grants but it does mean our decisions are informed by local knowledge, so we know that the projects are helping people that need it the most and are tackling the direst problems.”
The campaign will take place in two stages. The launch will start the process of raising public awareness about poverty and the role of the Church Urban Fund. It will garner support from the community and attract a network of supporters, whether they are donors, volunteers or can simply help CUF to spread the word.
“As part of the public awareness element, we are advertising in the national newspapers for the first time ever featuring a letter from the Archbishop of York, The Most Reverend and Right Honourable Dr John Sentamu. Our campaign will also focus heavily on highlighting the role of existing projects we have helped to fund, as it is important for people to see the human face of poverty behind the statistics,” explains Beckett.
The second stage will commence in October with the launch of fundraising initiatives targeted at individuals and businesses. From an urban adventure for thrill-seeking and socially-responsible corporates through to auctions, quizzes and walks for local people, there will be the opportunity for everyone to get involved.
Beckett concludes: “To date we’ve providing funding to over 4,000 projects across the country but Challenging Poverty will enable us to step up the level of support we are providing and make a real difference to people who live in poverty everyday.”
People can join the Challenging Poverty campaign by going online at www.challengingpoverty.org
Further information about the Church Urban Fund can be found online at