15:37 26/04/2017 Posted in Blog, Uncategorized, Writing | Leave a comment

Just a gorgeous, very touching experience interviewing Maxine, 85, and her daughter for the Alzheimer’s Society magazine.

A brilliant poet, Maxine’s dementia means she cannot perform even the most simple tasks.

Yet with just a little prompting, the words came tumbling out.

Picture courtesy of Mark Pinder.


active citizens

19:20 29/01/2015 Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

In 2014, I wrote the Active Citizens annual report for the British Council, which documents a year in the life of this social leadership programme.

It features stories of social action from Syria to Pakistan to the UK;  and describes the way Active Citizens is delivered, through case studies, photographs and interviews.

See the full document here.




stories against stigma

10:37 23/09/2014 Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

I was commissioned by Church Action on Poverty and Oxfam to train a group of people on benefits to talk about the reality of life lived at the sharp end of welfare reform.

These spokespeople would then powerfully challenge the current scrounger/ skiver narrative.

As well as receiving coverage in the Independent newspaper, the group were featured in Salford Online, the Salford Star, the Big Issue, and the Daily Mirror.

The group have been interviewed by BBC Radio Manchester and Salford City Radio; four documentary companies, including one from Channel 4′s Cutting Edge strand, want to tell the group’s story.

The group are still regularly meeting, and are in the process of becoming a formally recognised organisation.


church action on poverty

09:52 23/09/2014 Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

I wrote, edited and researched the ‘Drowning in Debt’ report for Church Action on Poverty (CAP).

Drowning in Debt

The report focuses on the little known buy-as-you-rent sector, whose shops sell white goods and appliances with interest rates of almost 70 per cent.

They sector is increasingly dominating some of poorest high streets in the UK.

Almost 80 per cent of BrightHouse’s 271 shops are in the top 30 per cent most deprived areas of the UK.

People use them because the weekly repayments are so low – a washing machine from BrightHouse costs just £6 a week for 156 weeks.

But at a final cost of £936, this hardly represents a bargain.

The report outlines is what the sector needs to do to change – offer lower interest rates, better rates for better payers, transparent costings, free debt advice, no default charges, and share credit data – so that their customers can eventually get themselves out of debt and wean themselves back on to normal credit.

The Observer covered the report well here, using much of my research in an infographic.


I also developed a series of case studies in July 2011 as part of a joint anti-tax evasion campaign by Church Action on Poverty and Christian Aid.

The Seedley and Langworthy Trust was first created in 1997 to support the regeneration of a deprived area of Salford.

After receiving a three-year £390,000 Lottery grant in 2009, SALT was able to develop a number of innovative projects.

However, following the end of their funding, SALT is now facing an uncertain future.

Here, members describe how they feel about these cuts – and why tax evasion is unacceptable.

The Gerry Stone transcript is available here, the Irene Travis transcript here.