ATD Fourth World UK’s dedication to activism, their deep understanding of systemic injustices, and their tireless efforts in empowering those with lived experiences of poverty and inequality resonate profoundly with our ethos. ATD Fourth World UK are an integral part of our collective, leveraging our expertise and passion to effect meaningful change.

As we reflect on our journey together, we are immensely grateful for the partnership, friendship, and shared vision that ATD Fourth World UK brings to the APLE Collective. Their dedication inspires us to redouble our efforts and reaffirms our belief in the transformative power of collective action.

ATD Fourth World believes that families and individuals who have the most difficult lives hold the key to understanding and overcoming persistent poverty. They are at the heart of everything we do. Our approach is to recognise the strength, determination and resourcefulness it takes to just get by. We build on the important roles people play in their family and community and support them to realise their dreams and aspirations. We are committed to accompanying people over the long run; offering them well-being breaks, away from the day-to-day pressures and anxieties of life in poverty; moving forward with them at their own pace; and building our projects around their hopes and ambitions. 

We are not a service provider. The ATD Fourth World community includes full-time core workers, families living in persistent poverty, allies, and volunteers. All get involved in every aspect of what we do, from project planning to evaluation, from fundraising to campaigning, from administration to governance.

“Together in Dignity” is our support programme for the most vulnerable and excluded families. With time, space, and resources, they build upon their strengths, develop their support networks, and access public services in their community. Through advocacy work with families in crisis, we foster conditions that allow parents, children and professionals to better understand one another and collaborate.

Our “Giving Poverty a Voice” programme empowers people with experience of poverty to express their views and offer solutions to the problems affecting their lives while offering policymakers invaluable insight into overcoming poverty from the bottom up. Our key priority in this programme is focused on poverty, social work and the right to family life. 

A recent example of our collaboration with APLE took place on 11 April 2024. The Action Research Journal launched a special issue on “Transforming the Poverty Field” in collaboration with ATD Fourth World International. In addition to several speakers from ATD at the launch event, APLE members Tracey Herrington (from Thrive) and Rahwa Beyene (from RAPAR) also agreed to be respondents sharing their reflections on the journal’s content. 

The International Day to End Poverty is a key part of APLE’s work — and it is a tradition that was first launched by ATD on 17 October 1987 with the inauguration of a commemorative stone on the Plaza of Human Rights in Paris. The message engraved on the stone reads: 

“Wherever men and women are condemned to live in poverty, 

human rights are violated. 

To come together to ensure that these rights 

be respected is our solemn duty.” 

To learn more about the history of the day, please click here.

Going forward, we aim for our work on poverty, social work and the right to family life to impact the delivery of children’s social services so that early preventative support can draw on and reinforce the strengths of fragile families and ensure that responses to crisis are proportionate and do not create unintended negative consequences.

We are excited about APLE’s journey from an informal grass-roots initiative to a charitable incorporated organisation where people with lived experience of poverty act as Trustees alongside others. We are sure that APLE’s ethos of participation reflects a model that other organisations are interested in learning from.