Opinion

#ActivistArmy on the march!

Last week we called on readers to join our #ActivistArmy and hold the country’s political candidates to account on poverty prevention – and you've been answering the call

Activist Army

It’s not all about Brexit.

Theresa May might well be on a strong and stable collision course with Jean-Claude Juncker, Donald Tusk and an army of EU technocrats but there are other issues the electorate are concerned with.

We know, because you told us.

Last week, we called on readers to join our #ActivistArmy and hold the country’s political candidates to account on poverty prevention.

The prevention strategy is at the heart of The Big Issue’s thinking. Rather than continuing to struggle on applying sticking plasters to the country’s burgeoning social problems, we believe that we must intervene early and invest in ways to prevent problems from happening in the first place.

We believe that we must intervene early and invest in ways to prevent problems from happening in the first place

We asked you to consider the issues that mattered most to you, and to challenge politicians to put poverty prevention at the heart of the general election.

And you’ve been getting in touch to tell us about joining the #ActivistArmy and your determination to challenge political candidates to take poverty prevention seriously.

The TV presenter and national treasure Chris Packham (below) told us he was backing The Big Issue prevention manifesto. Prevention was an excellent way of thinking about environmental problems as we head into the election, he said.

“Why is no one talking about the environment?” said Packham. “Has anyone from any party said anything about it? All I hear is Brexit, Brexit, Brexit.

Chris Packham holding The Big Issue

“You may have read recently that air pollution is linked to between 23,500 and 40,000 early deaths in the UK. This is a very serious issue with significant impacts on life expectancy and NHS costs in terms of treatment and clearly warrants some urgent action. If I was organising a manifesto, I would make sure it had the E word in there somewhere.”

Reader Anita Boniface, who works for the St Vincent de Paul Society, said: “A proactive approach to preventing poverty will alleviate a great deal of human suffering. And preventing poverty rather than firefighting further down the line would also help the government to use its resources more effectively.

“I’m going to be approaching my MP to ask him whether he’s putting poverty prevention on the agenda – I’ll be doing my part,” she added.

Natasha Dyer, who works in international development, said there was something in the poverty prevention agenda for all political parties to take on board. “Before parties finalise their manifestos, they should read The Big Issue’s prevention strategy,” she said.

And Justin Chaloner, a creative professional, said the prevention manifesto was a way of engaging with the general election at a time of perceived apathy. “It’s so depressing that those in power are seemingly terrified of thinking long-term and innovating when it comes to preventing poverty. We’re supposed to be a wealthy, civilised nation of the 21st century.

It’s so depressing that those in power are seemingly terrified of thinking long-term

“Fed up with politics? Feel helpless? Read The Big Issue and find out how to get stuck in.”

As the election approaches we will continue to challenge the parties on poverty prevention, and ask you to tell us how you are challenging your own local candidates. The question is simple: How are they going to tackle  poverty prevention?

Tell us about the responses you receive. You can tweet @bigissue using the hashtag #ActivistArmy. You can email us editorial@bigissue.com, or you can go to bigissue.com/activistarmy and complete our simple form.

Support the Big Issue

For over 30 years, the Big Issue has been committed to ending poverty in the UK. In 2024, our work is needed more than ever. Find out how you can support the Big Issue today.
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