Posted: 21 January 2014

Benefits Street and 10 facts about childhood poverty

Even if you haven’t watched Benefits Street, chances are you will have heard of it.

The Channel 4 documentary series has sparked a heated discussion about the way people who claim benefits are portrayed in the media. As well as coverage in the press, lots of people have taken to social networks like Twitter to add their voice to the debate.

We know from our work with some of the country’s most disadvantaged families that the overwhelming majority of people who get benefits really need them; whether they are working, looking for work or unable to work. Back in September we were one of five charities that helped launched the Who Benefits? campaign, to make sure those who need support from benefits aren’t ignored, misrepresented or, at worst, blamed for their situation.

Joining the debate on Twitter

As Tuesday's episode of Benefits Street focused on parents and families, we thought it was particularly important for us to join the debate on Twitter, to help make sure this side of the story was heard. We were really pleased to see that whilst not everyone agreed with what we had to say, lots of people did at least listen.

Have a look at our most popular tweet of the night, which pointed out that most children in poverty and receiving benefits actually live in working households.

This tweet has been shared more than 360 times. This meant that over 445,700 people potentially saw what we had to say, seventeen times our usual reach.

It was great to see that so many people like us are keen to share the facts about poverty and benefits. If like us, you think that Benefits Street shows that Channel 4 need to commission more responsibly, please sign the Who Benefits petition.


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By Lizzie Murray - Digital team

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