Charities in Hammersmith and Fulham will raise awareness of the borough’s staggering poverty levels at the Move4Change poverty awareness walk on May 12.
Crosslight Advice and the Hammersmith and Fulham Trussell Trust food bank organised the event to counter stigma and break down social barriers, with one third of the borough living in poverty according to Trust for London.
Around 70 people have already signed up for the four-and-a-half-mile walk, which will set off at 1:30pm from the St Paul’s start point, heading along the Thames to Barnes Bridge in Chiswick before making a return journey.
Crosslight’s Hammersmith branch manager Stephan Wiedmer said: “London is a great city in a sense that poor and rich live next door.
“In Hammersmith and Fulham for example, next to social housing is some of the most expensive flats in the borough. In one way it’s great as we have a big opportunity, but another reality is that we all live in social bubbles.
“One goal we have is saying we are one community, and let’s burst this social bubble of ‘I live here and you live there, as long as you don’t bother me’ – let’s ask the question of how we can be a community that is together.”
Mr Wiedmer, who also runs the Shelter Community with his wife Jeannine, hopes discussions on the day will help tackle misrepresentations of poverty.
He said: “We want to help people understand what it means.
“Sometimes in the media you hear about benefit scams and people taking advantage of the system – which is a reality – but in all the years I’ve worked here I’ve had two cases where they were not honest.
“For all the other people, life was tough and they were hit by two or three things that were very difficult, such as domestic abuse. These people only live next door, so how can we help?”
A spokesperson for the food bank echoed the statements, calling on people from all over London to join the walk, which is free to sign up to and does not require sponsorship.
The spokesperson said: “Our hope is that this walk will raise awareness of local poverty through stories and creative elements in such a way that it creates compassion for the neediest in our local community.
“Local poverty is not always visible and it is easy to live in our own little social bubbles without being in contact with people just living some meters away from us.
“We’d like as many people as possible to join us on the walk as we believe events like this can build community in an amazing way.”