Thursday, 12 April 2012

MP's play Snakes and Ladders to highlight the plight of those in poverty

On Friday April 20th at 10 a.m Dennis Skinner MP and Natascha Engel MP will roll the first dice on a life size game of Snakes and Ladders. Shirebrook Market Place is the venue and it will be the first outing for the game produced by the Derbyshire Unemployed Workers’ Centres (DUWCs).

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.

“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.”

Following the high profile players, including Cllr Eion Watts and Cllr Anne Western, members of the public will be invited to play the game.

“We hope that at the end of the game people will realise that poverty does not only exist in developing countries. Many people in the UK are living hand to mouth with no bank account, few local shops and constantly juggling bills and debts.” Colin concluded.

After the launch the game will be exhibited at Shirebrook Academy on Thursday 26th April, Bolsover School on May 12th and at Galas and events throughout the spring and summer.

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