Chapter 23 » 23.20
Poverty and housing
It was an initiative by Harriett Wilson some twenty years ago that led to the formation of the Child Poverty Action Group. She brought her concern about poverty in Britain to the Social & Economic Affairs Committee (one of the predecessors of Quaker Social Responsibility & Education) who organised a meeting of about twenty concerned people at Toynbee Hall… During the meeting the decision to form the group simply made itself. I was then asked whether the Society of Friends would sponsor it. As I stood up to reply I was in a deep dilemma. I could not escape the awe-inspiring feeling that history was being made; it was right for the Society to have brought those concerned together, but it was not for us, as a small religious body, to undertake the political operations which would obviously be needed to achieve the group’s objective.
In the event the CPAG was formed as a non-denominational charitable body. It has grown into one of the most effective pressure groups in the country, and one of the ways by which Friends could help to alleviate the undoubtedly increasing poverty would be to support the group.
Apart from campaigning for a better deal for the poor generally, the Child Poverty Action Group advises people on how to make sure that they get the welfare provisions to which they are entitled; and the group brings test cases to that end.
Richard Allen, 1984