Standard to publish book on Dispossessed campaign

The Evening Standard is publishing a book on its award-winning Dispossessed campaign next week.

‘Calling London’is written by chief features writer David Cohen and tells the story of how a conversation with his editor Geordie Greig sparked an investigation that turned into a campaign – and then a fully-fledged charitable fund that raised millions for the capital’s ‘dispossessed”.

The standard originally set out to raise £1m when the campaign was launched on 1 March 2010 but went on to raise more than £7m.

The campaign kicked off with David Cohen’s investigation into the use of mass paupers’ graves for babies from impoverished families in the capital.

Within a month London Mayor Boris Johnson had pledged to abolish the practice and praised the Standard for its ‘good old fashioned investigative journalism”.

The new book, which contains a foreword by Greig, tells the stories of Londoners “battling for survival” in the capital and reveals the ‘tragic extent to which nearly half of the capital’s children live beneath the poverty line”.

The Dispossessed investigation echoed an acclaimed campaign launched by the paper fifteen years ago under then editor Stewart Steven to highlight the conditions of impoverished Londoners living in the East End.

The campaign fund is used to distribute money to grassroots projects across the capital with charities bidding for grants of between £500 and £5,000 through the Standard’s website.

The Community Foundation Network works with a Standard advisory board to distribute cash in areas including: education; getting people into work; tackling gangs, guns and knife crime; improving health; homelessness; pensioner hardship; and the working poor.

At this year’s British Press Awards the Dispossessed campaign saw the Standard collect both the prestigious Cudlipp award and the campaign of the year prize, while Cohen was highly commended in the features writer of the year category.

‘Calling London’will be officially launched on 7 September 2011 at the Museum of London during a reception hosted by Geordie Greig to mark an exhibition on the campaign.

Communities Minister Nick Hurd and Boris Johnson will be among 500 guests including business figures, celebrities and donors, as well as the people whose stories inspired the campaign

The Dispossessed exhibition at the Museum of London runs until 20 November 2011.

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