At CUF, we describe poverty as a web.
We believe that people can be impoverished in different ways, experiencing a poverty of resources, relationship or identity. These problems are closely interlinked, trapping individuals and whole communities in a "Web of Poverty".
Living with a poverty of resources means more than just not having enough money. It’s about the profound sense of vulnerability and dependency that comes from living hand-to-mouth with no safety net. It means living on a low and insecure income, without any or with limited access to the public resources most people take for granted – everything from a good education and public transport, to libraries and leisure facilities.
A poverty of identity occurs when people lack a strong sense of self-worth and a belief in their own ability to respond to challenges. Where these are missing it can lead to depression, low self-esteem, low aspiration, poor mental health and a sense of hopelessness.
A poverty of relationships arises when people have no sense of belonging to anyone or anything, when they lack strong and supportive relationships. This can leave people feeling unworthy of love and unable to give or show love themselves, leaving them isolated and expecting to be let down by others.
These issues are complex and intertwined and require holistic responses that acknowledge each person’s unique circumstances and challenges, and also their unique strengths and abilities.