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The true stories behind new Leeds-based Amazon drama Rock Bottom

Created by Leeds local Jason Lumsden, it’s essential viewing

New drama Rock Bottom draws inspiration from the real-life stories of children living on the breadline in Leeds.

The new series showcases the effects of ten years of austerity on Leeds’ poorest families, following the lives of three children living in poverty in the city.

It’s created by Leeds local Jason Lumsden, who has had first-hand experience of life at both ends of the scale – going from rags to riches, and back to rags again.

Born and raised in Leeds, he loves the city and says he “knows everywhere.”

Having run an organisation working with children and families living in poverty in the city for many years, he also has intimate knowledge of the local issues experienced by the most vulnerable.

Now, he’s written a TV series to highlight them to the rest of the country.

It’s not necessarily an easy watch, but an essential one in Lumsden’s opinion – who hopes the show will bring to light the problems experienced by those living in poverty in the city right now.

He’s drawn on his own experiences to shape some scenes, including one in which a little boy opens his fridge to find absolutely nothing inside.

“There’s a strong link between financial anxiety and depression, and when you hit rock bottom to open the fridge door and there’s nothing there,” he told Leeds Live.

A lot of the issues in the series are based on the issues I came across when I was working with kids in poverty,” he said.

“It was in the early 2000s, and around then, cuts hit and there was less budget to go around and more people were living in austerity.

“I met lots of kids who felt like no one cared, and I used to say, ‘You could fill Elland Road stadium up with all the kids not going to school’.”

Jason added: “Kids had been let down and faced financial discrimination, which I think is underestimated.

“These were the observations I made when working with people on the breadline and I tried to show that in the series.”

Five years in the making, the drama has been a real passion project for Lumsden and is now available to watch on Amazon Prime.

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