In common with fellow members of St Columba’s Church in Crosspool, we have recently been taking part in Poverty & Homelessness Action Week.
We are well aware of the increasing poverty in Sheffield. Many of us are aware of it at first hand, in our families and amongst our friends as we encounter the impact of rising prices, government cuts and unemployment. As a church, we have been responding to rising poverty by participating in the Sheffield Soup Run and supporting a food bank.
This is the wider context. But we have a particular concern. People experiencing poverty are regularly abused by politicians and the wider media, labelled with terms like ‘skivers’, ‘scroungers’, ‘chavs’ and the ‘underclass’. Moreover, children and young people are often written off using that ugliest of words, ‘feral’.
In these harsh times, Sheffield Newspapers can play an important role by rejecting the demonising language that leads to people being viewed as mere objects rather than human beings who have real worth. Indeed, let us celebrate their tenacity and resilience as people get by and support their families in such challenging circumstances.
As a church, we are keen to support politicians and media professionals who speak on these issues in an informed and measured way. Indeed, we recognise that, under your editorship, your coverage of these matters is more restrained and informed than many of your competitors in the media.
We encourage you to continue to be ‘different’. We all need to learn not to throw the first stone.
We would be interested in your response to these letters, to Robert Furbey, 20 Crimicar Avenue, Sheffeild, S10 4EQ.
P Brown, Stephen Hill, S10