Jean Lambert, the Green MEP for London, will speak of the “vital role” played by voluntary and community groups in combating poverty and social exclusion at a public event in Paradise Park, Islington, on Saturday.
Spark in the Park  is the highlight of London’s programme for 2010 The European Year for Combating Poverty & Social Exclusion (EY2010)  and will offer an opportunity for workers, volunteers and users of voluntary and community organisations across London to come together to showcase anti-poverty activities and make the case for an income people can live on in dignity.
Speaking ahead of the event, Jean said: “London is one of the richest cities in the world and yet four in ten children live in poverty. This is simply unacceptable.
“Islington, with its grand town houses backing onto deprived estates, is the perfect example of this growing inequality. Behind the leafy residential streets and boutique shops, Islington is one of the top ten most deprived boroughs both in London and nationally . It has the highest rate of children in care in the UK , and without the vital work and tireless campaigning of voluntary and community groups adding to public services many more would be lost in the system.
“The austerity measures and reliance on the ‘big society’ will only serve to increase the burden on these groups and we as a society must take our collective and individual responsibilities seriously to support their crucial role.
“That said, we should also look to the coalition Government to ensure that despite the growing pressure on national budgets, public spending on financial support and essential services, like social housing, education, healthcare and social care, must be safeguarded. If we fail to ensure their continued provision we will simply increase inequality in our society and that will benefit no-one.”
Notes to Editors
Spark in the Park has been organised by Friends of Paradise Park and the London Voluntary Sector Training Consortium in partnership with the European Anti-Poverty Network England. It takes place in Paradise Park, Mackenzie Road, Lower London on Saturday 2 October, 11am-4pm. For more about the event visit: http://www.sparkinthepark2010.blogspot.com
Recent figures show 84 million in the European Union live in poverty. In March 2000, governments across Europe pledged to make “a decisive impact on the eradication of poverty” by the year 2010. This year was officially designated as the European Year for Combating Poverty and Social Exclusion (EY2010).
Figure from End Child Poverty: http://www.endchildpoverty.org.uk/london/child-poverty-in-london-the-facts/islington-32/