Children living in poverty have revealed the extreme hardships winter will bring for them, including feelings of deprivation, isolation, loneliness and shame, hunger and jealousy over other children’s experiences.
While many children across the country will excitedly write lists for Santa Claus filled with presents they hope to receive, many children in poverty don’t expect presents and for those who do, there is a stark contrast to the national average that is spent on children (£ 130) compared to what is spent on children in poverty this time of year (£ 21.79).
The survey, which examined 84,000 underprivileged children between the ages of 4 and 18, found that more than 2/3 of the children supported by charities are not looking forward to the ‘festive’ period at all and are having a difficult time of find the year. The reasons include experiences of poverty (89%), anxiety (74%), stress (65%), feelings of isolation (58%), parents or carers with physical or mental health problems (53%), living in temporary housing (53%), food insecurity (46%), boredom (46%), getting few presents (44%), fuel poverty (33%), being a young caregiver (33%), domestic violence (31%), alcoholism or substance abuse (31%) and lack of sufficient winter clothing (28%).
The Childhood Trust aims to raise £ 3 million in a week (December 1 to 8) through the ‘Christmas Challenge’ fundraiser that will help more than 80,000 children living in poverty in London this Christmas. This campaign aims to fund the implementation of 85 projects across London, providing a comprehensive program of vital services to meet the practical and emotional needs of more than 80,000 vulnerable and underprivileged children this Christmas and in 2021.
33% of children supported by partner charities don’t look forward to Christmas because their family can’t afford to heat their home.
During the Christmas season, a combination of colder temperatures and spending time at home exacerbates the impact of fuel poverty significantly. This has a devastating impact on children, physically, mentally and emotionally. Children are twice as likely to have respiratory problems (such as asthma) if they live in fuel poverty. It is also linked to slower development progress and can also have a number of indirect consequences, such as a lower level of education in school and a burden on the mental health of young people. People living in fuel poverty will often result in a reduction in energy consumption, leading to cold, dark and unsafe houses, while other households may have to limit other expenditures (such as on food), continuing a new cycle of poverty this Christmas.
43% of children supported by partner charities will face some form of food poverty during the Christmas season
During the Christmas season, many children do not have access to free school meals, leading to holiday cravings, and since many charities and organizations are partially closed during the Christmas holidays, another safety net for underprivileged children is being removed. Food banks usually fill the shortage of services and while the government’s new £ 170 million Covid Winter Grant Scheme is being welcomed, previous pilot projects have shown that it is highly unlikely to be sufficient in London, where only three London Boroughs this summer received a holiday meal allowance, with the exception of tens of thousands of children.
Other critical issues addressed in the report include material deprivation and temporary housing.
Laurence Guinness, CEO of The Children’s Trust said: “We are deeply concerned about the growing number of children forced into poverty by the coronavirus pandemic. The magnitude of inequality has been made much worse this year by the economic and psychological consequences of the pandemic and the measures taken to contain it. While Christmas is a joyous time for many, the experiences of poverty and poverty for underprivileged and vulnerable children are much worse at the moment, so it is critical that we get immediate help to as many children in need as possible. ”
Nazia Rashid, a family support worker, said: “We work with a number of families and children where one parent has lost his job, and that’s causing real tension. Without access to help and support funded through campaigns like this one, I don’t know where those kids would be. “
The Childhood Trust’s Child 12 page ‘Child poverty, Coronavirus and Christmas’ report was conducted with nearly 40 charities supporting children in all London Boroughs, collectively supporting a total of 84,000 underprivileged children aged 4 to 18 years old. The data is based on children’s personal experiences, in addition to the charity’s knowledge of the experiences of children and their families at Christmas.
The Christmas Challenge Campaign is a coordinated fundraising campaign that doubles individual donor donations through an online portal managed by our partners The Big Give. The matched fund consists of The Childhood Trust’s fund (25%) and each charity’s pledge fund (25%). This creates 50% of each charity’s target fund. The remaining 50% of the cause is collected from existing and new charity supporters through a webpage provided to each charity.
Donations can be made here: https://childhoodtrustchristmaschallenge.com/donate
In June, The Childhood Trust raised £ 3,655,349 for vulnerable and underprivileged children through the Champions for Children campaign, which funds a network of 94 charities to provide practical and emotional support to over 200,000 underprivileged children in London. More than a third of these projects would have closed without the funds raised by the Childhood Trusts campaign.