The CSJ’s latest report on the toll taken by unemployment makes for sober reading. So too do the drafts of our following four reports, to be published over the course of the year, which highlight the social cost and ultimate tragedy of family breakdown, addiction, serious personal debt and failure of our education system. Reading the facts and stories in this series of ‘state of the nation’ reports, a feeling of hopelessness can all too easily set in. The fact that three million children in the UK are living in lone-parent households, the reality that only 23 per cent of people in social housing across the country are in full-time work, or the fact that 100 babies every month are born with addictions to the drugs their mums are dependent on create an image of a Britain gone wrong, with some of the poorest and most marginalised consigned to a life devoid of aspiration and replaced instead with dependency.
But all is not lost. Every day a new story of hope sweeps through the CSJ office. Our Alliance of brilliant charities, most of them small and working on a shoestring budget, are bringing new hope to communities across the country, helping people to realise their potential, and tackling crippling poverty head on.
Yesterday I had the privilege of meeting team members from BAC O’Connor, an addiction treatment centre based in Burton. This team is not satisfied with the life of maintenance and dependency so often generated by methadone prescriptions, and instead run an abstinence-based recovery programme where every client leaves with a qualification, and dependency really can be a thing of the past.
Our sixth report to be released this year will address the vital, life-changing role of the voluntary sector; a sector meeting needs that many of us won’t even know exist. So whilst our state of the nation reports highlight the reality of poverty in our country, our next stage of research will look at the solutions, finding the individuals across the country working against the odds to challenge those who say ‘this is just how it is’ and to restore hope to those whom so many have written off.
If you would like to contribute evidence to Breakthrough Britain II, please visit ourwebsite
The annual CSJ Awards, which showcases and gives £10,000 prizes to Britain’s best and most effective poverty-fighting organisations, will take place in November. Please contact Annette Pereira for more information – firstname.lastname@example.org