Does Croydon really understand what poverty is? Could you find out by Living Below the Line?
7th May 2012
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Live Below the Line challenges people to live off just £1 per day for food and drink for five days to raise awareness of the 1.4 billion who have to survive on £1 every day for everything.


Established in 2010, last year saw 10,000 people worldwide elect to Live Below the Line, and in doing so raise more than £1 million for international development charities. Participants included David Cameron, Charlize Theron and Hugh Jackman.


Household names pledging their support this year include Arlene Phillips and TOWIE girls Lauren Goodger, Peri Sinclair, Lauren Pope and Frankie Essex, who took up the challenge to create a meal for three on a budget of just £1!


So how does it work? Quite simply, from today (7th) until the 11th May you spend no more than £1 a day on food and drink. You head to the shops with £5 in your pocket and return home with five days worth of food.


The full cost of items you eat should be included in your budget, i.e. whole packets of pasta, rice etc. If you are participating within a team challenge you can share the cost of the ingredients, pooling your funds. This will allow you to be more experimental with your cooking, as you can take single portions from different items, rather than having to consume for example, the whole bag of pasta, yourself.


You can use food from your garden but still have to account for the cost of production. You can drink plain tapwater in unlimited amounts.


You cannot accept food donations, but cash donations towards your fundraising are positively welcomed!


So what on earth are you going to eat without starving?! It's all in the planning! Use budget supermarkets, farm shops or pound stores in or around Croydon, and visit the supermarket at the end of the day when they often cut prices hugely on items close to their sell by date. Rice and pasta, oats and vegetable soups are likely to feature heavily in your eating plan. But if you check out the cookbook at and you will be amazed at what can be achieved within this seemingly impossibly tight budget. A breakfast of porridge and jam for 9p, or a Full English for 34p! Nutritious yet tasty recipes have been compiled by Lloyd Hayes, a graduate of Jamie Oliver’s Fifteen Restaurant. Breakfasts, lunches, main meals and even desserts, all below 50p!


Run as a school or family project, this is an excellent means of illustrating to children in Croydon and the UK exactly what life is like for 1.4 billion people who do not have access to 24 hour supermarkets, pizza delivery or McDonalds – and who, even if they did, would never earn enough in a month to take advantage of them. 


It's not even necessary to participate in the full five days; so much can be learned just by setting yourself the challenge for one day. Obviously, the more you throw yourself into it, the more you are likely to be able to fundraise. As a Global Poverty Project initiative, you can donate funds raised to a wide variety of causes all working towards improving the lives of those living in extreme poverty. And although this is a relatively new campaign, its challenge has rapidly captured peoples' imagination, with almost 67,000 participants poised to take part so far.


Could YOU do it? I've got my £5 worth of shopping... I have to say it doesn't look much, but to 1.4 billion people it would be a banquet. 


To register to take part, find out more or make a donation, visit

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