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Our Lives exhibition: a glimpse into British child poverty

A whopping 3.5 million children live in poverty in the UK – one of the worst rates of child poverty in Europe.

How can this be? How can so many children miss out on things like hot meals, a warm bed, space to learn and play, hobbies – the things other children take for granted.

Photo by Liz Hingley

A unique snapshot

We wanted to create a body of work that captured these children’s lives on terms that they and their families were happy with to share with the British public.

The result is Our Lives – a unique photography exhibition, presenting an intimate glimpse into the lives of children growing up in poverty in the UK.

The exhibition is open from Thursday 27 October – Sunday 30 October at The House of St Barnabas in Soho, London.

The shocking truth

During the project I was shocked to see just how hard things were for so many families.

I met parents who went without meals up to three nights a week so their children could eat and visited the food bank when things got hard in order to survive.

Families were living with health conditions such as asthma which were exacerbated, and likely caused, by the damp living conditions.

Some of the children are bullied at school, living in unsafe environments and going without the simple things like their own bed or attending football club.

No tables, no chairs

The things children say are the most poignant.

Christine, whose house is bare with no table and chairs, said “If I had the money I would make the house nice and pink and sparkly.”

And Stacey, who said, “I don’t get any presents for my birthday because it’s just after Christmas and it’s expensive. We don’t do anything special on the day.”

Our leading photographers

Last November I approached some really exciting British photographers: Simon Roberts, Liz Hingley, Laura Pannack, Abbie Traylor-Smith and Carol Allen Story.

We asked them to work collaboratively with families across the UK to capture their stories.

The photographers went above and beyond, many of them visiting the families they were working with up to eight times, seeing them through periods of financial hardship such as Christmas, birthdays and fridges breaking down.

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