Anti-Benefits Street charity offers self-help kit for communities targeted by Channel 4 show's producers

The toolkit offers advice on how to ward off unwanted attention and 'correct' negative perceptions after a show has been broadcast

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The Independent Culture

A charity that criticised Benefits Street has issued a “self-defence kit” for communities who want to fight off unwanted attention from reality TV producers.

Oasis, a community charity which runs a primary school on James Turner Street in Birmingham where the controversial Channel 4 series Benefits Street was filmed, has launched a self-help kit on its website.

The charity campaigned against the show earlier this year, claiming it misrepresented residents on the street.

Oasis founder Reverend Steve Chalke said Oasis released the self-defence kit after being approached by residents in Southampton - where follow-up series Immigration Street is to be filmed- about unwarranted attention from reality TV producers.

The “toolkit” for schools, churches and other community groups, contains advice on how communities can fight off unwanted attention and “correct” negative perceptions after a show has been broadcast.

 

The kit also contains a TV producer “decoder” to translate when a producer might “really mean” when they say what sort of programme they want to make.

Rev Chalke said: “We can't proactively defend every community in the country... however we believe that the new self defence kit will give people the chance to benefit from what we've learnt.

"We may all dream of having our five minutes of fame, but in recent years countless communities have seen just how savage the spotlight can be."

Benefits Street sparked more than 900 complaints, but Ofcom said the broadcaster did not breach any of its responsibilities under the broadcasting code.

Filming on a second series of Benefits Street is already underway in Stockton-on-Tees, documentary makers Love Productions has confirmed.

A Channel 4 spokesperson said: “We are always transparent and clear with residents in the extensive briefings that are given pre-filming and operate highly robust duty of care protocols for contributors which were praised by the regulator Ofcom as 'demonstrating best practice'.

"Filming of the second series recently began in Stockton-On-Tees, many months after transmission of the first and the subsequent media reaction, so residents were already familiar with the nature and profile of the programme. The majority of them have been happy to co-operate and support filming, even in the face of external pressure put on them by vested interests outside of the street."

Read more: Immigrants Street has residents worried
Comment: Benefits Street is pure escapism
Benefits Street series 2: Filming begins in Stockton

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