Election: Poverty Kills Childhood campaign hits West Dorset
When we arrived in sunny Sherborne, West Dorset on the afternoon April 9, we were greeted by beautiful sunshine, stunning sandstone terraces and a breath of fresh air. Why hadn’t we booked a B&B to stay for the weekend?
This was stop three on our election campaign trail, and the warm welcome – though uplifting – re-ignited the nervous energy:
“You’ve done this before, it’ll be fine…”
“The weather’s so nice, will people turn up?”
“Will the candidates pay anything more than lip-service to our issues?
It turns out there was little to worry about. When we arrived at Sherborne school (who generously allowed us to use their drama theatre for free) our local shop manager, Jackie Brownjohn MBE, had organised a great team of volunteers to help support the event.
They even produced a fantastic array of enticing canapés to charm our guests (which went down particularly well with certain individuals who will remain anonymous…)
The speaker’s event passed off without a hitch. We heard about the sterling work Save the Children has been doing in response to the devastating earthquake which struck Haiti from our Head of Emergencies, Gareth Owen.
He ended with a clear call to all parties to honour the commitment to spend 0.7% of national income on effective overseas aid. This was especially valued by our local supporters who have raised a tremendous amount of money to support the children of Haiti over the past few months.
Sharing news about how their money was being used on the ground was part of the motivation for holding this event.
Our “other” Gareth (Jenkins) then spoke powerfully about Save the Children’s history and our grounding in ending child poverty and suffering, moving seamlessly into the issue of severe child poverty in the UK – here and now.
It was great to hear how we are responding programmatically, and the tangible policy solutions we are proposing to the three main political parties to solve them.
As for the candidates – Oliver Letwin (Conservative), Sue Farrant (Liberal Democrat), Susan Greene (Green) – there was a real commitment to 0.7% of national income on overseas aid across the board, support for the Robin Hood Tax from the Green Party, and support for a pupil premium from the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats.
All in all, a brilliant day – below is a video of some highlights.
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