Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Fighting Poverty at home and abroad

Liberal Democrat Christian Forum commits to challenging poverty in England The Liberal Democrat Christian Forum (LDCF) have today welcomed the launch of the Church of England based urban regeneration charity as part of a new public campaign to tackle poverty in England, in the aftermath of a new churches’ report on urban life which said that Britain is divided society.‘Challenging Poverty’ is an initiative of the Church Urban Fund (CUF), which was established after the original 1985 ‘Faith in the City’ report. It 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 extent of inequality and deprivations has been highlighted by the latest churches’ investigation ‘Faithful Cities’, published last month, which involved Methodists, Catholics and other faith communities in a two-year Anglican-led research process.The ‘Challenging Poverty’ campaign will enable CUF to continue its work with the top 10 per cent of the poorest communities in England, after intense discussions about its future. On behalf of LDCF, Rev’d Simon Wilson comments,
“We welcome this new dynamic and broad-based campaign aimed at supporting some of the poorest communities in our increasingly divided nation. We pray that through grassroots schemes, individual lives and whole communities will be transformed for good. The Liberal Democrats have a proud record of striving to bring hope to all those oppressed by poverty and powerlessness.”

The main church-based campaign group on inequality and deprivation across the UK is the ecumenical Church Action on Poverty. Fran Beckett, chief executive officer of the Church Urban Fund, said yesterday: “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.” The campaign will take place in two stages. The launch yesterday started the process of raising public awareness about poverty and the role of the Church Urban Fund. It aims to garner support from the community and attract a network of supporters. The second stage commences in October 2006 with the launch of fundraising initiatives targeted at individuals and businesses.People can support and find out more about the ‘Challenging Poverty’ campaign by going online at http://www.challengingpoverty.org

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