Youth convoy to combat poverty

STEPHEN PULLINGER A convoy involving more than 20 young people from all over Europe will pass through Yarmouth, Lowestoft and Beccles next week on a crusade to combat poverty.

STEPHEN PULLINGER

A convoy involving more than 20 young people from all over Europe will pass through Yarmouth, Lowestoft and Beccles next week on a crusade to combat poverty.

A variety of events from a film show to fun days are being organised to entertain families and stimulate discussion of issues arising from exclusion and deprivation.

The convoy, which set off in June and has already travelled through Holland, Belgium, France and Spain, has been organised to celebrate the 40th anniversary of international poverty campaign group ATD Fourth World, which was set up by a priest, Father Joseph Wresinski, in a post-war slum district in Paris.

The “caravans of solidarity” - two mini-buses and a car-pulled trailer - will arrive in Lowestoft on Monday after the group's first UK stop on a south London estate.

Local ATD Fourth World organiser Lyn Lockwood, 37, of Earsham, near Bungay, said: “The young people on the convoy are from all different backgrounds and some have experience of living in poverty.

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“I grew up around Beccles and wanted the convoy to come to our region. When I came back to Waveney to work for the Family Welfare Association in Lowestoft I was horrified by the poverty facing some families.

“I recall one young mum who was living in a B&B and her child ended up in hospital with a stomach complaint as a result of her not having a fridge to keep food in.”

Events will start at 6pm on Monday with an official welcome to the convoy at The Ark children's centre, Lowestoft, and a photographic presentation on places it has travelled to so far.

The following day, activities from 10am to 12.30pm and 2pm to 4pm at Lowestoft library in Clapham Road will include a story about two Senegal-ese children, Ono and Rene, high-lighting the importance of not judging people from different backgrounds.

Youngsters will also be creating their silhouetted images and writing a message on the heart of their drawing - these will be sent to the United Nations in New York to be exhibited with others from around the world.

A similar programme will be followed on Wednesday, from 10am to 1pm and 2pm to 5pm, at St Luke's Church Community Centre, Castle Hill, Beccles.

On August 9, youngsters will be invited to paint the convoy trailer with local images in a fun day on Royal Green, Lowestoft, from 10.30am to 4pm.

The film Ghosts, made in Norfolk and Suffolk and telling the story of a Chinese immigrant to the UK, will be shown at the King's Centre, Queen Anne's Road, Yarmouth, from 5pm on August 10.

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