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Diocesan charity calls for action as child poverty hits “all time high”

Tuesday 9th July 2024

Caritas Diocese of Salford is calling for immediate and urgent action as a new report reveals an “all time high” for child poverty figures in our diocese.

The figures, taken from research by Loughborough University on behalf of the End Child Poverty Coalition, report that a staggering 333,000 children in Greater Manchester and Lancashire are now living in poverty – an increase of 31,197 compared with the previous year.

Demanding urgent and immediate action, Caritas Salford – the Diocese of Salford’s social action charity – has launched its summer appeal to help its work supporting people locally who are facing acute crisis.

Help child poverty become a thing of the past | Caritas Salford

“The time for talking is over”

Patrick O’Dowd, director for Caritas Salford, said: “We know the Government has a whole range of priorities and will be keen to ensure some ‘quick wins’ to make its mark on the new term, but the reality is that tackling poverty across the UK is a complex problem which requires a strategic, national, long-term approach. 

“The time for talking is over. Real young lives are being devastatingly impacted every day as poverty reaches what we think is an all-time high, and we see as demand for our services continues to rise that hardworking families are struggling beyond belief to simply carry on providing basic food, accommodation and clothing for their children. 

“It’s totally unacceptable and has a real, long-term impact on many children as they grow into adulthood.  That there are more than 31,000 more children living in poverty this year compared with last shows that this incredibly devastating spiral must be stopped – and it must be stopped now. 

“Key decision makers at a local and national level must make this a priority before it’s too late – though I fear that for many it’s already reached that point.” 

How you can help

Caritas Salford has launched its summer appeal, asking people across our diocese to support its work to assist local families in urgent need by taking action or making a donation, if able. 

It is also calling for changes to policies that support families who need help immediately, such as ending the two-child limit on benefits, increasing the number of children with access to free school meals, encouraging employers to pay the real living wage, and addressing other issues at the root cause of poverty experienced by so many. 

Patrick added: “It’s so hard to have to keep shouting about this but we aren’t going to stop until something is done to help hard-working parents and their children.  We need real change and we need it now.” 

The charity’s mission is to end poverty and currently runs a range of services for people experiencing homelessness, disadvantage, and isolation across Greater Manchester and Lancashire.  This latest appeal is asking for support to help us reach even more of the families locally that need help right now.  

Patrick said: “Families come to us every day who, despite working incredibly hard, are still unable to provide for their children.  We have seen people who can’t afford to shower, who are going without a meal so their children can eat instead, who can’t afford a bed so have their whole family sleeping on a mattress on the floor.  This is no longer the exception, it’s becoming the rule, and we estimate that one in two children in classrooms in our diocese are experiencing some sort of poverty. 

Please join us in taking action and demanding immediate change, and do get in touch if you’re able to help support our charity and our work with families in Greater Manchester and Lancashire.” 

Caritas Salford Services

Caritas Salford offers a range of services to support people experiencing poverty.  Since its launch in 2020, the Caritas Bishop’s Fund has been awarding small one-off emergency grants to families and individuals in crisis.  Access to these grants is promoted via the charity’s frontline workers and partnership organisations, as well as the diocesan network of schools and parishes.  The fund has helped people in many different ways, ranging from supermarket shopping vouchers through to replacement white goods and children’s beds, supporting local people.    

As well as providing accommodation to support young parents and their infant children experiencing homelessness, the charity also provides tailored support services to school children and their families as they experience difficulties.  This work has included working with bereaved children, supporting families where there is young offending and providing counselling services.    

Its other services across the area also include community pantries to support those experiencing food poverty.  

The charity is a member of the End Child Poverty Coalition alongside other charities, child welfare organisations, social justice groups, faith groups, trade unions and others – all united in a vision of a UK free of child poverty.  

To donate to the urgent appeal to support local children, or to find out other ways you can help, visit the appeal website page now: www.caritassalford.org.uk/childpoverty    

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