Brass Rozzo – interview with Chloe
Chloe was one of the actors in the recent performance of Brass Razoo, a play by young people about growing up on low incomes in Merseyside. She lives in a deprived area of Liverpool and though her own situation is OK she sees young people who are living in poverty and the impact this has on them.
Chloe is also in involved in the ‘A manifesto so poverty ends now’.
“I’m involved in this project because think it’s incredibly important that even though we may not experience poverty ourselves we see children who are having to deal with these things on a day to day basis. One thing I’ve learnt is that there are children I could see every single day who have to choose between dinner money or bus fare or their going home and not getting three meals a day. I think the thinks that are highlighted in our manifesto are really important that every child has the basics like three meals a day. Children shouldn’t be deprived of the opportunities of other people because they are not as well off as other people. The manifesto is the first of its kind because it’s completely written by children for children.”
There are six points to the manifesto:
1. Every family should meet a minimum standard of living not just surviving
2. An equal school experience for all
3. Affordable, decent homes for everyone
4. Every young person should have access to three healthy meals each day
5. For all to feel and be safe within their homes and communities
Make sure all young people have affordable transport, everywhere

Young people are not disengaged from politics

I am the youth theatre director at Collective Encounters which is a theatre for social change based in Liverpool. I’m currently working with one group of young people in Kirkby at Activates Arts. We are running a 12 week programme to hear what young people have to say about their area and to express their concerns and their issues in living in modern day Britain and using the arts to express those ideas and to open that conversation. All the young people I work with all have something to say and quite rightly so. It’s a complete mixed bag of opinions which is fantastic for debate because we all want to change the world in our own different ways. It’s great to have those conversations; they have a lot of things to say about a lot of areas of the world and the ways which we work. It’s really inspirational actually. People have this misconception that young people are disengaged from politics or anything like that and it’s a complete myth, it’s a lie. These young have something to say and they want to something about it and we use the arts to do so.

Mathew Elliot, Collective Encounters Youth Theatre

Ruth Little from ABCC Foodbank

Austerity kills

For me the most important thing is austerity and the benefit cuts on health. It’s widely recognised that a major factor on health outcomes are what are referred to as the social determinants of health, housing environment, education opportunities, employment. What is happening with the benefit cuts is that the social determinants of health are being squeezed. If people can’t get adequate housing that affects their heath, if they are under the stress of benefit cuts that effects their mental health which then can lead to alcohol abuse, drug abuse, increased domestic violence which then you end up in a downward spiral of decreasing health. So when you talk about austerity you really are in effect saying austerity kills.

Dr. Sam Semoff, Keep Our NHS Public Merseyside

Getting By? Voices is a platform for people from all background to air their views on and experiences of Getting By? It will feature contributions submitted via this site, films and transcripts of interviews we’ve recorded and contributions from apprentices working with social landlord Regenda.

Keeping checking this page to see what they have found out.

I’ve seen a lot of changes for the good and a lot to the bad because now a lot of things are priced out of the people’s pockets because they cannot afford to do the things that I did 20 or 30 years ago.

I went to college and got O levels and A levels and stuff, but it cost me absolutely hardly anything but now they’ve got to pay £20, £30 or £40 pounds for the lesson, and when your’e on the dole or if you’re on the sick you cannot afford to pay that out because its leaving you free of your food or your rent or with the poll tax or the tax on the bedroom tax that’s not helping anybody.

The houses [here] mostly have been changed and the area has been brought up to scratch, but of course there’s still a lot of poverty about and people are trying every day to day to cope with that, especially with little children and different things.
People who are ill and sick are expected to go out to work and they’re expected to turn up at the dole queues when there’s nothing there for them to have. People want to work, there’s people in the area wanting to work very much but they’re not able to do so because the jobs are not there for them. It’s no use saying go out there and get a job when there is nothing.[Frieda refers to a play she has recently appeared in]

It was trying to get over how the benefits have affected people, how people have been thrown out of their homes that they’ve lived in and wanted to stay in till they died, but now with this bedroom tax they have got to move and they have got to get into one bedroom flats or something, which is not very nice. And is not a thing which should be done. When you get old you don’t want to be messed about with all this type of stuff, I’m lucky I own me own house and I was able to build another little house onto my daughters house so I was one of the lucky ones, but there’s not always who have been as lucky as I have.

Frieda, 82-year-old community activist, north Liverpool

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I grew up in north Liverpool in one of the roughest areas in Europe, managed to get myself educated, get myself to university managed to get a degree and then became a teacher.

I taught for 21 years and then obviously my background and everything caught up with me and four years ago I had a nervous breakdown. And from that I ended up losing my job, my house, my marriage, my children.

I ended up on benefits and the system has been appalling because they don’t acknowledge the fact that I’m mentally ill because I’m well enough to work, even though I can’t get out the house. When I can’t get out of the house to get to the job centre they sanction me, and when they sanction me I find myself lying in the house for 3 days with the quilt over me, not eating.

I’ve attended food banks and if you thought your self-esteem can’t get any lower, it can. As an educated person and somebody who can fight back I’m disgusted. I know I’m fighting back for all those people who’ve not been educated and not had the opportunities that I’ve had. What’s going to happen to them? They’re going to end up in a worse position than me. At least I can now have a voice whereas they’ve never had the confidence, never had the input and never had that voice

I was criminalised because of my mental health. Probation services were very good to me I must admit, and ever since then Communiversity I’ve come to the drama classes. A year ago I couldn’t leave the door, it was that bad I couldn’t get out and today I stood up and done a performance, something I thought I would never achieve but I still struggle and I’ve got no money.

Former comprehensive school teacher, north Liverpool