Third of families on benefits will rely on charity food in December

More than a third of families on benefits will depend on food provided by charities this Christmas, research suggests.

A study for Save the Children found that 37% of families receiving Universal Credit and Child Tax Credit will depend on food packages or meals distributed by charities.

And nearly two-thirds (65%) say they need to cut back on basic necessities like food and heating to cover Christmas costs.

Half of the 1,000 families surveyed said they are concerned that they will be able to afford presents for their children this year.

This has left them feeling embarrassed, depressed, and “ failing as parents, ” the study found.

Six in ten families said they will go into debt to pay for Christmas, and 32% say they will borrow with a credit card.

And a fifth (21%) use donated Christmas gifts as gifts.

Rebecca and her eight-year-old daughter, from Norfolk, will be counting on donated food this Christmas.

She said, “Last year a charity gave us a Christmas tree, so we still have it, which is nice. On the one hand it is so nice to have so much help, but on the other it is demoralizing. I want to pay for things myself, but the government just isn’t giving us enough support. “

You don’t have to suffer in silence when you are struggling with your mental health. Here are some groups you can contact if you need help:

Samaritans: Call 116 123, 24 hours a day, or send an email to [email protected], in confidence

Childline: call 0800 1111. Calls are free and will not appear on your bill

PAPYRUS: A volunteer organization that supports suicidal teens and young adults. Phone 0800 068 4141

Depression Alliance: a good cause for people with depression. Not a helpline but provides useful resources and links to other information on its own website

Students Against Depression: A website for students who are depressed, have a low mood or are suicidal. Click here attend

Bullying UK: A website for both children and adults dealing with bullying. Click here

Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM): For young men who are unhappy. Has a website here and a helpline: 0800 58 58 58

Save the Children is urging the government to extend beyond March 2021 the £ 20-a-week increase to Universal Credit introduced in April to help families during the pandemic.

Dan Paskins, UK Impact Director at Save the Children, said: “Every parent wants to protect the magic of Christmas for their children, but when you have to make impossible choices between heating your house or putting food on the table, there is nothing left for it. gifts or treats.

“Many struggling families have seen their household budgets dried up by the pandemic, and they will feel the economic impact of the crisis for some time to come.”