Saturday, 27 August 2011

Surrey Heath Coalition Against Poverty & UN Day for Ending Poverty

Surrey Heath Coalition Against Poverty Logo

Several months ago I interviewed Tish Mason, the Chair of Surrey Heath Coalition Against Poverty (SHCAP). This is a group of organisations, from different parts of the community, who have got together to raise awareness that poverty still exists. These include Amnesty International, Churches Together in Camberley, ATD Fourth World, Ghurkha Welfare Trust, Asian Students Christian Trust, Christian Aid, and the United Nations Association.

Poverty not only exists abroad, but in the UK too, and surprisingly, Surrey Heath. The coalition formed several years ago to do something about poverty here and abroad. They aim to make people aware of the need to eradicate poverty, show solidarity with people who experience poverty and  promote their dignity. SHAC involves people who have witnessed poverty, and supports local organisations fighting poverty.

October 17 each year marks the UN Day for Ending Poverty. This year the coalition are hosting two local events to give local people opportunities to take part in the UN Day. These will be held on Saturday 15 October (to give everyone an opportunity to attend).

Commemorative stone

On 17th October 1987, in the presence of 100,000 people from diverse social backgrounds and many countries, Father Joseph Wresinski, founder of ATD Fourth World, unveiled a commemorative stone for the UN Day for Ending Poverty, in the Trocadero Human Rights Plaza in Paris.


The first event will be a guided walk to the paupers graves area of Brookwood cemetery, led by historian John Clarke, who will tell the story of the graves.

2010 Pilgrimage StrollIn the mid-nineteenth century the volume of London's dead was causing public concern. So in 1850 the idea of a great metropolitan cemetery, situated in the suburbs and large enough to contain all of London's dead, was promoted. The outcome was Brookwood Cemetery, the largest burial ground in the world when it was opened in 1854 by the London Necropolis & Mausoleum Company. The
cemetery now contains almost 240,000 burials and is still privately owned and administered.

Coffins of the wealthy were brought by train and transported from one of the two stations in the Necropolis by horse drawn hearses. Many churches had their own designated areas but paupers were taken in carts to be buried in unmarked graves on the outskirts of the cemetery.

2010 Frimhurst WorkshopLater in the afternoon, there will be a Creative Workshop for all Ages at Frimhurst Family House in Frimley Green, where individual efforts build into a group achievement. No artistic talent or training needed, come along and have a go. There will be refreshments, a group art activity, and a helium balloon release.

For more information on the coalition, and the events to mark the UN day for ending poverty, contact or check the website at

Listen to the full interview with Tish on AudioBoo.

Interview: Surrey Heath Coalition Against Poverty (mp3)