Focus: Communications - Three minutes with... Hazel Parsons, Million Children campaign, Shelter

WHAT IS THE BOOK YOU HAVE PUBLISHED?

It's called Waiting for the Future and it's a collection of poems by children about poverty and bad housing. We produced it with the End Child Poverty coalition and 25 schools and after-school clubs. We wanted a mix of secondary and primary schools from around the country, but also a mix of children who had experienced poverty directly and those who hadn't.

WHAT RESPONSES DID YOU GET?

Most of the children who hadn't experienced problems themselves had no idea there were other children in that position, and were outraged when presented with the facts.

There is something quite moving about the way children can go straight to the point and say "how can this be happening in such a wealthy country?" We got good feedback from teachers at the schools we worked with, who said it helped promote understanding between the children who were better off and those who weren't.

WHAT WAS THE AIM OF THE BOOK?

We wanted to raise awareness of the fact that there are 3.5 million children living in poverty in the UK, despite the fact that this is the fourth-richest country in the world. There are at least a million children living in bad housing, which means they could be in overcrowded, damp or temporary accommodation.

It's hard to put exact figures on the problem because of practices such as 'sofa surfing', where parents and their children live with the grandparents but try to make the best of it rather than present themselves to their local authorities as homeless.

AND WHO IS IT AIMED AT?

The Government is committed to ending child poverty by 2020, and we want to keep pressuring the decision-makers. We have sent a copy to every MP.

The booklet is also available online - we hope members of the public will lobby the Government to get it to deliver its targets.

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