Where mercy and justice meet


Many of the issues facing communities in Britain today are underpinned or exacerbated by a lack of life skills among individuals in poverty. Churches across the country are finding that lack of hope, confidence and aspiration can be just as damaging as other types of poverty, and are increasingly seeking to address this huge issue. When people have never been taught how to read, draft a CV, use the internet, cook a nutritious meal, plan a budget, parent their children, speak English, interact socially or send an email, this lack of life skills can have a massive impact on them, their families and our communities. More than five million adults in England are ‘functionally illiterate’, meaning their reading ability is below that expected of an 11-year-old child. In addition, research conducted by the OECD found that English teenagers have the lowest literacy rates and second lowest numeracy rates of 23 developed countries. When it comes to cooking, a large YouGov survey conducted in 2014 found that 10 per cent cannot cook and 67 per cent eat meals in front of a screen. Another poll found that the average 16-24-year-old can only cook four recipes and spends £19.61 on takeaways every week. In 2016, an all-party Parliamentary group called for financial education to be taught in primary schools to help children understand how to budget and develop a positive attitude to saving. Digital exclusion is increasingly causing problems for people facing poverty, with 21 per cent of people lacking basic skills to use the internet. But churches are rising to meet this challenge.

Click on the Quick Guide to find out more about this issue, including what churches across the country are doing to help, or visit the links below to see our latest blogs, media, research, etc, on this issue...