Campaigners Team Up with Local Artists to Launch a Christmas Art Auction to Highlight Poverty

The Right to an Income campaigners and artists are seeking to raise funds to distribute money, heating and food to the people who need it. Seán Brady  |  Mon Nov 23 2020
'Inez McCormack' by Susan Hughes and 'Hope' by Terry Bradley
“The role of the artist is to make the revolution irresistible” -- Toni Cade Bambara

The Right to Work:Right to Welfare (R2W) campaign, PPR and The MAC Belfast have teamed up with artists for a Christmas campaign with a difference: to highlight poverty and distribute money, food and heat directly to people who need it by fundraising for Whiterock Children’s Centre (west Belfast), The Larder (east Belfast) and the Marrowbone Community Hub (north Belfast).

The auction is due to run online from Monday 30th November (12pm) to Monday 7th December (12pm).

Visit the H.E.A.R.T. auction here.

Art and artists have always been part of R2W and we recognise the impact the pandemic has had on artists in particular. This Christmas we will promote the excellence and talent of our artists while calling out the causes of poverty and providing what we can for our friends and neighbours in need.

Before Covid-19, poverty was already on the rise:

  • child poverty rose from 19% of children in 2018 to 24% in 2019. Poverty causes huge mental distress. Suicide rates in our most deprived areas are three times higher than in the least deprived areas;
  • unemployment has shown the biggest rise since 2012, with 2,000 redundancies announced in the last few months alone. There has been a 90% rise in the number of people claiming Universal Credit (UC) since the pandemic started. More than half (53%) face hardship during the 5 week wait for first payment. One in seven who applied for UC since lock-down began weren’t able to afford essentials like food and heat while waiting for their first payment;
  • demand for food banks has soared by almost 150% with women twice as likely as men to experience food insecurity, and single mothers representing a third of all food bank users;
  • from January to June 2020 there were over 4,000 households placed into temporary accommodation - a third of these were families.

It doesn’t have to be like this.

No parent should have to make a choice between feeding themselves or their kids.

During this pandemic we witnessed quick and far-reaching changes by governments to support and protect people.

Radical change is possible.

No child should go without food this winter. No parent should have to make a choice between feeding themselves or their kids. No pensioner should go without heat in their home.

But waiting on decision makers to bring about change is a luxury we can’t afford.

From 30 November to 7 December, we will be launching an online art exhibition and auction, including amongst other great work, a piece by Terry Bradley, a portrait of PPR’s founder, Inez McCormack by Susan Hughes and a series of limited edition prints commissioned by The MAC for the R2W campaign.

We want your help:

  • Donate time and money if you have it
  • Bid on the artwork if you can afford it
  • Buy a print if you can afford it
  • Give your artwork to the campaign so we can auction it
  • Share our campaign with your network

If you want to help out please get in touch with Seán Brady at PPR or Finn Kennedy from R2W.

Seán Brady is Assistant Director of Programmes with PPR.