Community play tackles issues of Welfare Reform

17.10.2013

A drama highlighting the real-life situations facing families struggling with debt in the wake of the bedroom tax is touring neighbourhoods across Merseyside and Cheshire.

A drama highlighting the real-life situations facing families struggling with debt in the wake of the bedroom tax is touring neighbourhoods across Merseyside and Cheshire.

Our House, commissioned by housing associations Your Housing and Plus Dane Group, has been devised as a way to help spread the word that help is at hand for those with money worries as a result of benefit changes.

The short play was written by screenwriter Arthur Ellison, who has penned episodes of Hollyoaks and The Street, and stars Brookside and Beating Berlusconi actor Paul Duckworth.

It tells the story of a couple who find themselves spiralling into debt and tempted by high interest loan companies. With their two small children no longer eligible to have their own rooms without the family being subject to bedroom tax, finding the extra money to pay the rent as well as afford everyday necessities leads to serious money problems.

Through the comedy drama, produced by Toxteth-based D Street Media, the couple find out about support available to them through their housing association and from organisations like credit unions.

Plus Dane Group and Your Housing staff have been on hand at the performances to give advice on resident support and community initiatives, and other local agencies such as credit unions have been invited to come along and offer their services at the events.

Lisa Cover, neighbourhood engagement officer at Plus Dane Group said: “Welfare Reform is a huge issue for many of our tenants and people living in our neighbourhoods. Bringing a play to the community is a different approach to try and make sure as many people as possible know what is going on, and the help that is available if they need it.”

Eddy Weston, community project officer for Your Housing Group said: “Our House is a funny and entertaining short play that highlights the problems affecting many people across Merseyside and Cheshire. People are under great pressure and it is all too easy to resort to loan sharks when money is tight – we wanted to get the message across that there are alternatives, and with the right help there can be light at the end of the tunnel.”