About Us

new logoATD FOURTH WORLD is a human rights-based, anti-poverty organisation with more than 40 years' experience of engaging with individuals and institutions to find solutions to eradicate extreme poverty in the UK.

Working in partnership with people affected by poverty, ATD Fourth World has, since 1968, concentrated its efforts on supporting families and influencing policy through work at Frimhurst Family House in Surrey and our National Centre in London. read more...

A member of the International Movement ATD Fourth World, we work in more than twenty-five countries throughout Europe, the Americas, Africa and Asia. We work with affiliated organisations in 90 other countries and have over 100,000 members worldwide.

As part of our commitment to representing people living in poverty at an international level, ATD Fourth World has a permanent delegation at the European Union and holds general consultative status with UNICEF, UNESCO, ECOSOC, the International Labour Organisation and the Council of Europe.

On 17 October 1987, ATD Fourth World was at the root of the laying of a Commemorative Stone honouring the victims of extreme poverty, violence and hunger on the Parvis des Droits de l'Homme et des Libertes in Paris. Five years later, the United Nations recognised 17 October as the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty and called on all nations to renew their commitment to fighting poverty and to show their solidarity with the poor.

Since then, more than thirty similar Commemorative Stones have already been laid around the world, from the European Parliament in Brussels to the Gardens of the United Nations in New York. Each one bears the words of Joseph Wresinski, the founder of the International Movement ATD Fourth World: "Wherever men and women are condemned to live in extreme poverty, human rights are violated. To come together to ensure that these rights be respected is our solemn duty."


Read the lastest edition of our regular journal, Dignity, here (pdf).

Or download the latest annual review (pdf).

Frimhurst Family House

Frimhurst Family House is a fully-modernised Victorian house set in its own extensive woodland and grounds and is, for many families, a refuge where parents and children can spend quality time together away from the stresses of daily life.

As the location for all residential aspects of ATD Fourth World's Family Support Programme, Frimhurst Family House aims to provide families with a setting in which to relax, to spend quality time together, to think clearly, to learn new skills, to meet other families in the same situation and to learn together in a respectful, non-judgemental environment.  read more...

With residential accommodation for 30 people, a carpentry workshop, an art studio, dining facilities and disabled access, Frimhurst is also available to hire for a variety of purposes, including conferences, group meetings, wedding receptions, children’s parties and private classes.

For more information, contact:
Frimhurst Family House
Guildford Road
Frimley Green,
Surrey GU16 6NU
tel: 01252 835489
email: contact@atdfrimhurst.co.uk


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The Roles We Play: Recognising the Contribution of People in Poverty

georgina bookThe Roles We Play: Recognising the Contribution of People Living in Poverty, a new, full-colour book, is now available to download here

The result of a collaboration between ATD Fourth World and artist and photographer Eva Sajovic, the book takes its cue from the original photo exhibition that toured the country in 2010, as well as the participatory film project of 2012, and features both professional portrait photographs and self-written biographies that focus on what people do to combat poverty and social exclusion in their everyday lives and in their communities.

The aim is to challenge negative stereotypes of people who experience poverty and social exclusion and are largely dependent on income from benefits. Read more...

In the words of Kathy, one of the participants, “This project is very important to me because it means I am not invisible anymore; I am recognised as a human being with thoughts, feelings and aspirations. I feel respected. It helps me define myself more positively and feel I have a valuable part to play in society.”

The book was made possible by support from the Big Lottery Fund Awards for All.

Tackling Shame, Poverty and Social Exclusion

ATD Fourth World has participated in a new short film, Rich Man Poor Man, which is available to view here.

The film complements the recent research study Tackling Shame, Poverty and Social Exclusion: A Study in Seven Countries which found shame to be an important part of the experience of poverty in all the countries covered in the study: China, India, Norway, Pakistan, South Korea, Uganda and the UK.

People in poverty in all seven countries described feeling ashamed at being unable to live up to their own or others’ expectations due a lack of income and other resources but, more importantly, they reported routinely being stigmatised, labelled, shunned and ignored in many different spheres of their lives. The finding of a common link between poverty and shame has important implications for how we think about, design and build policies intended to alleviate poverty. Read more...

Research within the UK was carried out by Elaine Chase and Robert Walker from the Department of Social Policy and Intervention, University of Oxford.

According to Robert Walker, “Shame is evident in the framing, structure and delivery of anti-poverty programmes in each of the seven study countries albeit manifest in a variety of ways. Sometimes the imposition of shame in the form of stigma is justified by policy makers and supported by popular opinion. Both naming and shaming, and blaming and shaming are commonly thought to be effective ways of policing access to welfare benefits and changing and regulating anti-social and self-destructive behaviour.”

More information on the research, funded by  Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) and the Department for International Development (DFID), can be found here. Rich Man Poor Man is a Media Trust production. 

Building Confidence 

gpv ppt pageWhen persistent poverty grinds a family down, it is not merely their material circumstances that are affected. Hand-in-hand with poor health, debt issues, insecure housing and limited employment opportunities comes a daily reality of badly, if not irrevocably, damaged confidence.

And yet it is having the confidence to engage in community life and face one's own challenges that is often key to combating poverty and carving out a fulfilling life for oneself. 

Our Family Support Programme strives to work alongside the most vulnerable families over the long-term to build trust, form lasting relationships and create a vital support network that allows families to make positive changes in their own lives before crisis strikes. Read more...

In the words of one mother, “Before, we didn't have much help; there was nobody to turn to. Having a family support team behind me helped me gain confidence: it enabled me to speak out, helped me sort out issues with my children and communicate better with my son. 

“It helped me with going to the council, making phone calls and attending meetings. There was support with rent arrears and budgeting, as well, which is a big issue right now for everyone. 

“It enabled me to go to places to ask for help when I needed it because I didn't do that before; I kept things bottled up and didn't get them sorted. 

“ATD Fourth World has made a big difference for me and my family. The team has been inspirational to me and changed my life.” 

The above is an edited extract from the ATD Fourth World Annual Review 2013, available to download here.