Wednesday, 25 August 2010

BBC Documentary Seeking Families with Disabled Children on Benefits

Disability Now posted on twitter that the BBC is looking for families with disabled children to feature in a new documentary focusing on the effects of benefit cuts.

They have sent me further information so that I could post the request here, in case any readers are interested in taking part.

[Image text reads: MY LIFE DOCUMENTARY. BBC One is making a film about children growing up in low income families. We are looking for chatty children, happy to talk about family life, having fun, where they live, school, hopes and dreams...

If you are, or if you know a child aged 7-12 years who you think might like to take part, then please call / text Tim on 07968 721299 and I'll call you right back!

Check out for more details.]
BBC ONE: My Life (1hr)

True Vision is a BAFTA award-winning production company renowned for making documentaries about important and often sensitive social issues. Our films have led to concrete political and social change regarding homelessness, unemployment, addiction and domestic violence - please visit for more details.

Eleven years ago our BBC documentary 'Eyes of a Child' compassionately told the story of children growing up on the edges of society. It caused a sensation and in the following weeks Tony Blair announced a raft of measures designed to eradicate poverty in the UK by 2020 - with an interim target of halving the number by 2010.

While some excellent work has been achieved with those closest to the poverty line, it is still estimated that 4 million children still live in poverty today. 'My Life' will provide 4-5 children living in households where the family struggle to make ends meet, (throughout the UK) the opportunity to present their world through their eyes, highlighting the things that affect them including housing, their local area, unemployment and access to education as well as their hopes and dreams despite living in tough circumstances.

It will be a powerful and important film which will give a voice to the children who are facing the toughest start in life compared to most. It will also help to ensure that child poverty remains at heart of future social policy in this historical year.

We are looking for children aged 8-12 (perhaps up to 14) throughout the UK who have plenty to say about their lives, their homes and their family. The filming would follow them over a couple of months (in short sensible bursts of filming that best tell their story) so that we can present a narrative for each which the audience can really engage with. Parents and siblings may well be involved but the vast majority of filming would focus on one or two of the children.

Given the nature of this documentary, we have a child protection policy which has been approved by the BBC for this project. All staff involved have been CRB-checked, have signed up to a strict protocol and solid experience working with children and families. At all times, whether gathering research in an informal capacity through to filming with a child, their safety and wellbeing is paramount

Firstly I'd like to say that we are acutely aware of how difficult is to find contributors willing to discuss some very personal difficulties, furthermore ones that they may not be proud of - but I can honestly say that our previous contributors have all been happy with the final films, because they take a long time to make allowing a strong level of trust to develop. I also accept that not everything needs to be out in the public domain, so certain details can be withheld and we also show the film to contributors for fairness and accuracy prior to broadcast.

Recently there have been several documentaries made regarding social imbalances - perhaps most notably 'How the Other Half Live' - although the programme fulfils a purpose, I have to admit some personal dissatisfaction about the format used. We are perhaps slightly old-school and rather than have a life-swap scenario or celeb come in and view life through their experiences, our intention is to give the microphone to the kids and hear their voice, their thoughts and witness their lives - ultimately achieving a more 'real' picture of what life is like.

The film is meant to be a statement on Child Poverty/Social Deprivation - I cannot hide from this, or find contributors who are unaware of this - but I suppose my approach to potential contributors is to target the specifics underneath these banners, ie housing, education, family life, health, aspirations etc. Hopefully it won't be all doom and gloom though, and I'd like it to be a process that the kids enjoy, and can feel a strong sense of achievement & satisfaction from.

Finally I also wish to acknowledge that there is good work being done to alleviate social problems, I would say that there has been a lot of investment to improve certain parts of the country and perhaps the timing of this film will be important as expected cutbacks will hinder ongoing progress.
So if you are interested, check out their website, or call or text Tim on 07968 721299.

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