1. Thou shalt seek to understand what life is like for people who are poor and who lack a sense of agency and control over their lives through the lens of rich people. Thou shalt pay a perceived expert with no ties to the local area to write a report about the realities of poverty and inequality in the area.
  2. Thou shalt commission reports and evaluations which make warm, fuzzy and vague commitments to concepts such as equality, fairness and kindness. It should never be clear how to action anything which will bring such concepts into reality for those who are…

Every time someone who is living through hell tells me about their circumstances it hits me like an Express train. The raw emotion which comes out every time people articulate what it is like to be treated like surplus humanity charges through my whole body. The people who have lived through hell in the most risky forms of homelessness, in the most abusive relationships, who are struggling with complex trauma, few of them ever stood a chance in this society which markets itself as a meritocracy but is closer to a kleptocracy (i.e. …

In this blog I’ve been grappling with some issues I feel very strongly about. I’ve had to re-read it several times to check the extent of my bias. I will, somewhat naturally, always be biased in relation to the extent to which lived experience involvement matters when responding to social issues. What I have challenged myself to do is to also be fair. In this blog I refer to many things which I have found horrifying in how our systems and public services have responded to social issues. It would have been easy to write these truths in a way…

Person A is a university educated heterosexual white male. Person A experienced childhood trauma and years of substance abuse and mental health related issues, but was able to quickly pick up the language of local authourity commissioning and the design and management of public services. It is, after all, the language of his white middle class parents, who were head of student services at a local college and a mental health social worker respectively. …

Another week on the Elephants Trail, with stops on route via Housing First, GM Systems Changers and Our Agency! Questioning when people in power are going to get real about inequalities and the only things which are going to make a blind bit of difference to whether people are poor or not! When are people going to understand that people being in dire poverty, but just about surviving and still managing to volunteer, isn’t OK? It’s exploitative and wrong, all whilst we allow beasts such as Serco to siphon off so much tax-payers money. …

Why civil society needs to change its understanding of whose responsibility it is to ‘give back’.

Early in my recovery from addiction there was something of a consensus that myself and others like me should ‘give back to the communities we had taken from’. I’m not sure whose brain-child this line was, but over the next thousand or so words I am going to provide a critique of it.

I grew up in a working class town called Denton with some privileges and some disadvantages. My home was a loving place free from violence and abuse, we weren’t a rich…

This is Piers Morgan’s response to the anti-lockdown protests, part of a somewhat predictable reaction to the anti-lockdown protests from the centrist media. There is no attempt to get beneath the surface of what is going on, a blindness to many people’s experiences of power and authourity.

Before I go on I wish to make a few things clear from a personal standpoint:

1: On a personal level I accept the lockdown measures

2: I never advocate violent protests

3: I think *some* people went to the anti-lockdown protests (and the BLM protests which I am also going to cover…

Is there something wrong with our expectations of leaders with lived experience?

We have a system which seems to obsess over ‘senior leaders’ and ‘decision-makers’ and believes they are the only people who can make change happen. Therefore I’ve been questioning whether some of the current framing around ‘leaders with lived experience’ could lead to expectations that if you place people with ‘lived experience’ (I promise to tackle why term is so problematic in a future blog) in these roles then systems will change for entire populations.

Firstly, I need to say that I am fully supportive of the appetite…

In 1916 Rosa Luxemborg declared “society stands at the crossroads, either transition to Socialism or regression into Barbarism”. 104 years later it still rings true, even if what we define as socialism is changing.

Following the events on Saturday 13th June 2020 it is easy to make an argument that the regression into barbarism is accelerating right now. On this day a network of far-right ‘football lads’ (as they call themselves, although they would be described as football hooligans by many) clashed with each-other, passers by and the police under the guise of a counter-protest.

In the midst of all…

Not remotely!

There are certain things I now take for granted that are helping me quickly adjust to events over the past few weeks:

Abstinence from both illegal and prescribed drugs

An income which is enough to secure me adequate food and unlimited data for phone calls and internet usage

A laptop

A smart phone

The skills which allow me to be digitally included

A bank account

A safe and supportive network of family, friends and colleagues

Relatively secure work

In 2001 not a single one of these would have applied. My life now and my life then make for…

Matthew Kidd

I work alongside communities on their own terms and try to help them bring about systemic change. I'm both inspired and frustrated on a daily basis.str

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