On Friday April 20th Shirebrook Market Place was the venue for the first outing for the 'Snakes and Ladders' debt game produced by the Derbyshire Unemployed Workers’ Centres (DUWCs).
Dennis Skinner MP, Natascha Engel MP rolled the first dice on a life size game of Snakes and Ladders. The game, which everyone knows from childhood, seeks to show how difficult it can be to achieve a secure full-time job that will lift a person and their family out of poverty.
Cllr Anne Western and Midlands TUC Regional Secretary Rob Johnston also joined members of the public in playing the game throughout the morning
A YouTube video of the game can be viewed by following this link:
“I got the idea from a group of people experiencing poverty who are in the organisations Migrant Voice and ATD Fourth World.” said Colin Hampton Co-ordinator of the DUWCs, “They produced a mural depicting a game of Snakes and Ladders expressing the policies and practical guidance that helps people achieve their goals and those which prevent a person from escaping poverty often making things worse.”
“I was very impressed.” Colin went on to say “I asked them if I could develop the idea as an educational tool making a life-size version using people as counters. They gave me the thumbs up and Bolsover Local Strategic Partnership agreed the funding through Community Voluntary Partners CVP.”
DUWCs say that Public Attitudes Surveys show an alarming ignorance of the causes of poverty and the difficulties that people face. A majority put poverty down to bad luck, personal failing or a natural occurrence. DUWCs argue that research shows that poverty is fuelled by a range of factors as well as being closely linked to the start a person has in life.
“We hope that through this game we can show people the ladders– Credit Unions, high quality training, job creation, support and advice that can help people achieve their potential.” Colin went on to say. “We also want to highlight the pitfalls that many people face – the cutting of benefits, the breakdown of relationships, discrimination against those suffering ill health and disability to name but a few.”