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March 11, 2009

Poverty experts meet with the experts in poverty

Poverty means that a man born and bred in the most disadvantaged part of Glasgow can expect to live to 54. A ten minute drive away, life expectancy increases to 82. Next week, policy makers and social commentators will meet face to face with people who live with poverty every day of their lives. The Poverty Truth Commission is a first for Scotland and it is hoped it will provide new momentum and focus to anti-poverty work in the future

“In Scotland people die young because of poverty. In one of the richest countries in the world, this is wrong.”

Poverty Truth Commission – From Listening to Action

The Poverty Truth Commission on 21st March in Glasgow, co-sponsored by the Priority Areas of the Church of Scotland and Faith in Community (Scotland) will bring together two groups that are generally not together – representatives of some of the poorest neighbourhoods in Scotland and well-known community leaders from the government, the media, the faith communities and academia.

Poverty is a disease that afflicts an ever-expanding body of the nation’s population; yet not enough is being done to eliminate the causes of this affliction. Policies seek to alleviate the symptoms, but even these are designed without the participation of those who bear the immediate burden of poverty. Those who are struggling against poverty are usually not at the table where decisions are made that affect them directly. This in itself is one of the causes of poverty. The real “experts” are not being heard except perhaps when violence or tragedy afflicts their neighbourhoods.

At the Poverty Truth Commission people who have grown up in the context of poverty will testify to the realities they have faced and still face – telling a bit about their own daily struggles while attempting to break the stereotypes by which they are often known. In their testimonies they will move beyond the hurdles they have faced to describe their hopes for the future and their resolve to work to overcome poverty not only in Scotland but throughout the world.

They will call on the community leaders not only to “walk in their shoes” but to join with them in building the kind of world when all people can reach their full potential.

Following the testimonies there will be an opportunity for participants to meet and talk with the testifiers and other people from poor areas, to hear more stories and to learn from individuals and organisations that are in this struggle. There will be a market place of grass-roots anti-poverty organizations and an opportunity for everyone present to talk about what they have heard and to get involved with others in the struggle.

POVERTY TRUTH COMMISSION 21st March, 2009 2.00 – 5.00pm

A unique gathering for everyone committed to tackling the causes and symptoms of poverty in Scotland today.

Glasgow City Chambers
George Square, Glasgow G1 1RX

To register for the event, please email your name and contact information (address, phone, email) to Paul Chapman (email: