The Forgotten Twenty-Three Percent our latest project is creating awareness of Poverty in Wales and the increased impact the pandemic has had on the poorest communities. Now living in East London, she is no stranger to living in these forgotten communities, seeing and experiencing first-hand the daily struggles that too many people are facing. Many of these communities have been neglected by those in Westminster. Since moving to London and witnessing the shocking neglect of poverty by the government, which is becoming more prevalent across the UK, especially in Wales. Something must change, as 700,000 people in Wales live in Poverty, equating to 23% of the population. Alarmingly, 3 in 10 children in Wales live below the poverty line with 72% of those children who grow up in poverty living in working families. Poverty isn’t a lifestyle choice.
There are growing concerns that Wales is returning to a state of poverty and unemployment that hasn’t been seen since the miners’ strike in 1984. There are currently six food parcels being handed out every minute across the UK. One Tory Government starved miners the current is starving minors.
Blaenau Gwent, Louisa’s home county had the highest Covid – 19 death rates in the UK for months, although having a relatively low number of cases. The reason being because Blaenau Gwent is one of the poorest communities with some of the poorest living conditions in Wales and the UK. Blaenau Gwent has had the second highest child poverty rates in Wales every year since 2015. The underlying reason why Wales had the highest death rates across the UK was due to poor living conditions and poverty.
Compared to the rest of the UK, Wales has the lowest GVA. Wales has the one of the lowest pays rates for people in work in every sector compared to the rest of UK. When the pandemic hit, Wales had more than a third of their jobs furloughed, with the poorest communities at the highest risk of job losses. Using the power of art and activism, the aim of the campaign was to create a protest towards the government who are failing the people in these communities, almost emulating those protests we’ve seen recently but also those of the miner’s strike in eighties. Her photos used plaque cards photographed in quintessential Welsh valley’s towns that are sadly becoming run down and derelict. Alongside a fashion film that documents the in justice and failure of the government.
As a designer Louisa wanted to make a difference by fund raising for the Welsh charity, Children In Wales who not only help children who live in poverty but children who are young carers and work with children to help encourage career opportunities and hopeful futures. By creating a Go Fund Me page where people could donate and win the chance of one the designed t-shirts or tote bags.