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How The Other Half Live

Category: News Release

This film is about rural poverty, the hidden poverty that often gets ignored, and the elite system that holds people back regardless of education and hard work. It is also about a friendship between two 8 year old girls from opposite sides of the economic divide.

8 year old Rebecca Abingdon lives with her 13 year old Brother George, dad David and Mum Angie in the chocolate box Cotswold countryside. David Abingdon and wife Angie have been together since 1994 and it was around this time David hit the big time and is now worth just over £9 million. He is now the MD of Alchemy Network, a marketing business which helps companies to realise their potential. He has come a long way since his impoverished childhood in Birmingham, something he doesn't think his children George and Rebecca, fully understand. Aside from living a few miles down the road from Princess Anne, both George and Rebecca attend a private school - ‘they live in a bubble' and Angie thinks they have much to learn about the real world and just how fortunate they are. As Rebecca says ‘poverty happens in London and big cities, I don't think there is much poverty around here though.'

However just 11 miles away lives another 8 year old girl with a very different life.

Iris (8) lives with her Mum Cal Buffery (39) who spent 18 years living in a new age travelling community where Iris was born. Whilst pregnant, Cal made a life changing decision to study law. She achieved a first class hons, a masters with distinction and completed her bar exams all whilst living in a trailer and bringing up Iris on her own. But despite being called to the bar she has not been able to find a chambers willing to take her on for her pupilage, an essential apprenticeship that Cal must complete before she can call herself a barrister. The only thing that she has to show for 8 years of study is £20,000 of debt, the average amount a law student owes before they start their career. Instead Cal works part time in Ladbrokes bringing home just £400 per month. Even with her fantastic string of qualifications it took her 6 months to get the job in Ladbrokes ‘If anyone doubts how hard the recession is at the moment, they should try and get a job.'

Every day Cal and Iris are aware of every single penny, the phone rings on a regular basis with calls from the debt collectors, they run out of fuel in the harshest winter for 20 years and despite Cal's best efforts, she struggles to give Iris the things kids want and a £2 board game is just too much of a strain on their budget.

After the sponsorship begins with a gift of £4,000 the Bufferys start to see their lives improve, despite Cal's initial reluctance at accepting money from a stranger. Day to day pressures are lifted and both families embark on a personal journey of friendship and awareness. George and Rebecca begin to question all they have known and see the world in a different way, especially when David takes them back to Birmingham to show them where he grew up. David also shares Cal's frustration in gaining a pupilage when he can't even help her get a day's work experience in a barrister's chambers ‘This elite system is very alive and kicking and it's a bloody disgrace, what kind of country are we living in?'

Through this friendship, the Abingdons go on to give more than just financial help, but personal gifts which they know will benefit both Cal and Iris and their thoughts turn to helping Cal and Iris get out of poverty for good.