APLE Collective- Our Story So Far

The APLE Collective is a national collective of individuals who experience poverty. Working together with organisations that support us to take positive action to eradicate poverty.

In February 2018, a number of groups led by people with direct experience of poverty were invited to meet up with the Poverty2Solutions alliance (ATD Fourth World, Dole Animators and Thrive).

  • Hope Rising Action
  • Salford Poverty Truth Commission
  • West Cheshire Poverty Truth Commission
  • Community Pride CIC
  • Expert Citizens

From this gathering, it was agreed that there appears to be advantages and mutual benefits in coming together as a larger network of people with direct experience of poverty. It is only when people with direct experience of any given issue are able to have opportunities to affect the decisions that impact on them, that real, meaningful change can happen. People with direct experience of poverty have experience and expertise that are critical to inform effective decision making processes that have the potential to make positive advancement with life chances and improvements in personal livelihoods. Having a lone voice without support makes this difficult. A collective can offer support and make it possible to affect change.

To explore this idea further, a gathering of groups led by people with direct experience of poverty and facilitated by Turning the Tide came together in April 2018. Initial thoughts and ideas expressed at this meeting included:

  • The need to think about a shared mission statement and agree the governance arrangements
  • How to effectively build networks of connections?
  • How could the APLE collective ensure knowledge is best be shared?
  • What does support mean to the member groups?
  • How can a collective best ensure national exposure on shared issues?
  • The value of changing the narrative – change the story so that media stories focus on the lived experience

By June 2018, the collective’s mission statement was agreed:

“we aim to create a sustainable grassroots network across the UK. To raise awareness of poverty, reduce stigma and work together to affect change”

The first piece of work actioned by the APLE collective was held on October 17th (International Day for the Eradication of Poverty). Groups led by people with direct experience of poverty throughout the UK united and raised awareness of this significant day. Some of the collective activities included:

  • ATD Fourth World event at House of Lords – Over Coming Poverty Through Lived Experience.
  • APLE Collective, Dole Animators and Pov2Solutions spoke at the ATD House of Lords event alongside Baroness Ruth Lister.
  • Thrive Teesside held an event on Stockton High street to raise awareness of issues in Stockton. This event also include a ‘speakers corner’
  • Salford PTC designed and delivered a workshop for the Social Audit Network Annual Conference to raise awareness of how social value and working with communities can help to eradicate poverty.
  • West Cheshire PTC held their first meeting of the second West Cheshire Poverty Truth Commission.
  • Dole Animators and other groups from Leeds and Bradford created Poverty Zines at a Zine making workshop with Ruth Patrick.
  • The APLE Collective held a twitter takeover of Ros Wynne Jones Wigan Pier Project and shared the work of the APLE collective and messages throughout the day.
  • The APLE Collective created a Twitter account that reached 600 followers in just 6 days.

As part of improving national media coverage, The APLE collective was supported by JRF and provided with opportunities to speak out about Universal Credit

  • A letter was sent to Esther McVey (the then Secretary of State for Work and Pensions) to request a meeting and the opportunity for people with lived experience to be involved with informing the design of social security systems.
  • The letter was published by The Times in the Editors letters section. This letter was applauded by Ruth Lister as ‘ground-breaking’ for two reasons (1) having a letter published in the Times by groups of people with direct experience has never been achieved before and (2) the letter appeared next to a letter from Frank Field MP, Chair of the Work and Pension’s Select Committee
  • The Times then went on to run a 3 day undercover piece on Universal Credit
  • Participants from Salford PTC, ATD 4th World, West Cheshire PTC and Thrive all spoke out about their experiences of Universal Credit on Channel 4 News, in the Daily Mirror, Guardian and The Independent

Our article in The Sun newspaper- Read Here.

Our Channel 4 video on Universal Credit- Watch Here.

Our article in The Mirror- Read Here.

In the 10 months since the idea of a forming a national collective of people with direct experience of poverty was aired, the collective has evidenced a number of significant achievements. Interest in membership has increased, relationships have been developed, additional media training has been provided and the collective have united to raise awareness of a significant issue affecting people living in poverty.

The APLE collective are now ready to further develop, build on the learning to date and establish themselves as the UK national collective of people with direct experience of poverty.