On 4 March 2014, I witnessed a group of police officers forcibly move on some homeless people around Newland Avenue in Hull, the heart of the city's student population. Their only crime was being homeless, which I don't feel is a crime, and certainly doesn't justify the treatment they received. I felt helpless, and had to carry on home, angry...
When I launched Live Below the Line in the UK in 2012 I didn't think doing the challenge was going to be difficult at all. I thought those who screwed up their faces when I proposed the challenge were simply lazy. I remember being a student - the Smart Price pies, Pot Noodles and spaghetti shapes. Living on so little for over three years, how hard could living on £1 a day for five days really be?
Much has been reported in recent months about providing food to families who are struggling to make ends meet, but unfortunately there is a much broader and deeper side to this story: a desperate need for everyday essentials, items that are getting left off the weekly shop long before people turn to food hand-outs.
Many struggle to be patient with their children when they skip meals so they can feed them first. Some care for relatives in demanding physical ways in spite of lack of food. Others go to work each day on an empty stomach, earning their way but still with inadequate resource to pay for food, rent and heating. It is a national scandal.
Child poverty costs this country £29billion a year, and will rise to £35billion by 2020 if the projections prove accurate. Other countries are doing far better on the existing - internationally recognised - measures. It's not the child poverty targets that are 'discredited', but the government's approach to meeting them.
Just think, if the money lost to tax evasion was available for governments to allocate according to current spending patterns, the amount going towards health services could save an estimated 1.9 million children a year. That's approximately 21 fewer children dying in the time it took you to read this article.
Next month, as part of the Sport Relief season of programmes (I know, yawn), we lucky viewers will be treated to seeing the likes of the Dragon's Den's Theo Paphitis and some spoilt rich 'star' off Made in Chelsea quite literally slumming it with people living in 'food poverty' (whatever that is supposed to mean).
Given that many of the jobs lost in manufacturing over the last forty years - it now accounts for less than 10% of the economy - were in 'traditional' areas of the country such as the North East and North West, to name but two, any increase in jobs that require making real things, as opposed to the service sector, would be welcome.