People with an interest in improving social equality can hear from an expert in the field at a public talk in the New Room, Bristol (aka John Wesley’s Chapel), on the evening of 20 February.

Paul Morrison, policy advisor from the Joint Public Issues Team, will be speaking about recognising and challenging poverty and inequality in the UK with a talk entitled Penthouse and Pavement: Is the gap between rich and poor inevitable?

This is the second in a new series of public talks, collectively entitled Wes Talks and inspired by the New Room’s founder, John Wesley, who paved the way in the 18th century by publicly highlighting the hardships that many of his contemporaries endured.

Mandy Briggs, education officer for the New Room, said: “Recognising and challenging poverty and inequality is just as much of an issue today as it was in Wesley’s day, so we’re really looking forward to hearing what Paul Morrison has to say on this important subject.”

The work of the Joint Public Issues Team concentrates on some of the UK’s biggest current challenges: the housing crisis, rising poverty and inequality, and the economy. The team represents the Baptist Union, the Church of Scotland, the Methodist Church and the United Reformed Church, working together for peace and justice.

In a climate where housing costs are rising faster than wages, the JPI Team reports that inadequate housing support is available to people on low incomes, with insufficient new, affordable homes being built, waiting lists growing, homelessness continuing to increase, and rough sleeping having more than doubled in the past decade.

Mandy Briggs said: “We aim to provide a forum where anyone can reflect on what kind of policies would make a meaningful difference, and how can we campaign for these, as well as working for change happen in our own communities.”

The talk will be followed by an opportunity for questions from the audience and group discussion.

The event starts at 6pm on 20 February. Tickets cost £5 and are available to buy at the New Room, or through Eventbrite here: . Alternatively, places may be reserved in advanced by emailing with payment on the door.

For further details see and

The Wes Talks series is a joint initiative run by the New Room and the Methodist Learning Network (South West). The next talk will take place on 19 March when John Cooper, director of the Fellowship of Reconciliation and Maggie Moss, a participant in Extinction Rebellion actions, will address the issue of non-violent protest.