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About Us

Changing Realities is a participatory online project working with over 100 parents and carers living on a low income across the UK.

Our project is a close collaboration between parents and carers, academics at the University of York and Child Poverty Action Group, supported by artists and creatives. By sharing experiences of life on a low income across a range of platforms, we aim to engage the public, media and government to drive much-needed change.

Our research programme is run in partnership with Child Poverty Action Group, funded by abrdn Financial Fairness Trust and led by the University of York.

Illustrations by Catherine Fortey
Changing Realities is a wonderful community where we can talk about our struggles and worries with no judgement and so much support from like minded people.
- Kim, project participant

How did we get started?

Changing Realities grew from our sister research project Covid Realities, which involved parents and carers sharing their experiences during the COVID-19 pandemic. We published our findings in an award-winning book: A Year Like No Other: Life on a Low Income During COVID-19.

Book cover

As the world began to unlock, we found ourselves facing a cost of living crisis and a whole new set of challenges that needed to be talked about. Change was needed.

Illustrated broken piggy bank

So we began again. This time we called the project Changing Realities to reflect both the changing pressures of living on a low income in the UK today, and the change that is urgently needed.

When I'm in Zoom meetings with other participants, who are people from all over the country, with similar views to me, I don't feel as though I'm fighting the battle all alone anymore.
- Dotty G, project participant

How we share our experiences

We use a range of methods to document the day-to-day reality of life in poverty – the challenges we experience and the changes we want to see.

Here are just some of the ways we document and share our experiences:

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  • ▶︎▶︎▶︎ Diary writing
  • ▶︎▶︎▶︎ Posing and responding to “Big Questions of the Week” (video questions on key topics)
  • ▶︎▶︎▶︎ Zine-making
  • ▶︎▶︎▶︎ Podcasts
  • ▶︎▶︎▶︎ Poetry and writing workshops
  • ▶︎▶︎▶︎ Speaking to the media about our experiences
  • ▶︎▶︎▶︎ Westminster lobby days
  • ▶︎▶︎▶︎ "Big Idea" online discussion groups

All diary entries and Big Question discussion can be viewed in The Living Archive

Through these channels and more, we can connect with and support other parents and carers in the same position, engage those in power, and work together to make change happen.

Find out more about How We Work
I got involved as I have been journaling the ways I am helping our family survive anyway, hoping that some of the skills can be useful in future hard times. If this same information could be used to create a formal record and hopefully influence future decision makers then that would be something positive from a great deal of suffering, struggling and stress.
- Lili K
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