MPs game of poverty

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MPS played snakes and ladders to highlight the plight of those in poverty.

Crowds drew in Shirebrook Market Place to witness the unusual sight of Dennis Skinner and Natascha Engel playing the life-size childhood game, with a twist.

Derbyshire Unemployed Workers centre set up a snakes and ladders type game to play in Shirebrook Market place to highlight how difficult it is to get out of poverty. MP's Natascha Engel and Dennis Skinner roll the first dice, onlooked by Michelle Hallam, tidlyy wink, Colin Hampton, Kris Ambler, Councillor Anne Weston and Alison Askew who was a tidley wink.

Derbyshire Unemployed Workers centre set up a snakes and ladders type game to play in Shirebrook Market place to highlight how difficult it is to get out of poverty. MP's Natascha Engel and Dennis Skinner roll the first dice, onlooked by Michelle Hallam, tidlyy wink, Colin Hampton, Kris Ambler, Councillor Anne Weston and Alison Askew who was a tidley wink.

Real-life ‘counters’ navigated the board with ladder messages such as ‘sustainable full time job with good pay and job satisfaction’ or snakes messages such as ‘can’t afford to pay rent - become homeless’.

Produced by the Derbyshire Unemployed Workers’ Centres (DUWCs), the game seeks to show how difficult it can be to achieve a secure full-time job to lift a person out of poverty.

Colin Hampton co-ordinator of the DUWCs said there was an alarming ignorance of the causes of poverty.

He added: “There is poverty all across north Derbyshire. People are particularly finding it difficult because there is a lack of full time jobs, benefits are being cut and the cost of living is rising.”

The event also offered support and information from groups such as Advice Derbyshire, Citizens Advice Bureau and Relate.

Colin said “When people get in to poverty and debt it can affect all areas of their lives including their relationships.”

After a closely fought game Natascha Engel finally rolled the winning dice.

She said: “It’s a brilliant way of showing how difficult it can be to get out of poverty. You can try lots of things but you keep hitting buffers and going down again.”

Mr Skinner added: “This is an area of high unemployment which is why we set up the Shirebrook Unemployment Centre.

“This game shows some of the obstacles people face in climbing out of poverty.”

Following the high profile players members of the public were invited to have a go at the game.

The game will be exhibited at Shirebrook Academy today, Bolsover School on May 12 and at galas throughout the summer.

julia.rodgerson

@derbyshiretimes.co.uk