Poverty in Eastbourne: the film
14th March 2016
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The Eastbourne People's Assembly Against Austerity arranged a special screening of the film, 'Poverty in Eastbourne', at Brodie Hall on Wednesday 9th March. The professionally made film revealed the sad truth that there is much poverty and deprivation in Eastbourne despite the veneer of affluence that the town presents through its tourist attractions and grand hotels on the promenade. Interviews with some of the various people delivering crucial support services to the homeless and those suffering deprivation in Eastbourne showed how valuable the services provided by local charities, churches, and voluntary agencies are, supporting people who have either fallen through the welfare safety net or who couldn't get enough support from it anyway.  

The care and compassion offered to people using these services was moving and inspiring.The main themes of the film were that poverty in Eastbourne is a growing problem, and ever more people are in need of help, yet there is an urgent need for the existing agencies offering various support services to be supported through better communication between them and more co-ordination to ensure a more joined-up approach.

The film showed that Eastbourne Borough Council is trying to facilitate this, but the question and answer session after the film, chaired by Helen Owen, one of the people who helped get the film made, revealed that many people think that this will not be enough, as there needs to be a concerted campaign, at both the local and national level, to push back against those austerity policies that are increasing the levels of poverty in the first place.

Agencies like Matthew 25 and Eastbourne Foodbank do not create a need for their services, but respond to a need which is ever growing due to homelessness, benefit cuts, benefit sanctions, wages that are too low to live on, rapidly rising prices for basic items like food, electricity, rent, and so forth. Therefore, addressing the flaws in the welfare and economic policies that lead to increased poverty is a vital part of both the drive to reduce poverty and to ensure that agencies like Eastbourne Foodbank don't get overwhelmed by the scale of the ever-increasing poverty.  

The EPA sees the fight against austerity cuts as crucial to the overall fight against poverty, as such cuts only make the poverty problem in Eastbourne much worse. The EPA is very grateful to Helen Owen, and Peter Thorpe from Matthew 25, for their assistance in putting on this film night. Other community groups that would like a public screening of the film can contact Helen Owen Marketing Enterprise. The film is also available for free viewing online on YouTube.   For more information about the Eastbourne People's Assembly, please contact: eastbourne.peoplesassembly@yahoo.co.uk

About the Author

Andy Durling

Member since: 28th October 2013

Having left behind careers as a professional nurse and a charity administrator, and deftly weaving a delicate path through the existential crises of middle age and semi-retirement, I am currently Co-ordinator...

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