Posted: 19 January 2017

Day of Action

On Saturday (7 January), the Campaigns team visited Brighton to build support for our Debt Trap campaign and our calls for a breathing space.

What is a breathing space?

January can be a particularly stressful time for household budgets. We know from speaking to families and young people in problem debt that dealing with multiple creditors can be exhausting.

'You know with debt, constantly they are calling you, they are harassing, they are sending you letters. Some of them do turn up at your door' - Mum with three children

Being under such intense pressure can make it difficult to make decisions and debt can quickly spiral out of control. Not only does this impact a family’s finances, but it can also lead to children feeling stressed, anxious and sad.

That’s why we’re asking the Government to introduce a breathing space scheme. The scheme would give families the time they need to work out their finances and set up an affordable repayment plan, without the stress of interest fees and visits from bailiffs.

Our Day of Action

To help us explain the campaign, we created our very own breathing space - a relaxing igloo where people could escape from the hustle and bustle of Brighton city centre, hear more about our campaign, grab a balloon, or simply shelter from the rain. Children popped by too for face painting, colouring in and hanging out in the igloo.

Child getting face painted

Brighton’s youngest residents joining in with the fun

We chose Brighton because it’s home to Simon Kirby MP – the minister who gets to decide whether our dream of a breathing space becomes a reality. We know how important it is to get local support, so we were thrilled that almost 300 residents signed our petition!

Some extra help

We were lucky to have extra help from Lizzie Woods, one of our amazing Campaign Champions, who braved the cold to speak to members of the public about the campaign. She tells us a bit about her experience and why she enjoyed taking part:

'We reached so many people, young and old and the response to the petition and campaign messages was overwhelmingly positive. One person said that he was 'glad The Children's Society is doing something around this because nobody else is bothering', while another young woman, a student at Sussex Uni who was initially reluctant to sign, changed her mind when I spoke to her about my own personal experience of being in debt and how it could happen to anyone at any time.

Joe Jenkins, Director of Supporter Impact and Income

Joe Jenkins, Director of Supporter Impact and Income, showing his support

'A group of workmen who had driven past in their truck a few times even stopped and wound down their window to ask what we were campaigning about, before signing our petition!

'There was a great energy on the day, and we all had a laugh despite the Arctic conditions and the rain. I also enjoyed engaging with the public and getting their views and seeing such strong support for the campaign.’ - Lizzie Woods, Campaign Champion

we were thrilled that almost 300 residents signed our petition

Thank you

All in all, the day was a big success. We want to say a huge thank you to everyone who took the time to stop and chat to us about our work and sign our petition – especially in such cold and drizzly weather.

Keep an eye out for updates from us on how the campaign is progressing and other ways you can take action. 

Take action

By Nicole Fassihi - Campaigns team

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