“30% of children in the U.K. are currently living in poverty” – a shocking statistic that highlights the increasing plight of thousands of children in this country. In our town, the figures are equally astonishing with 28.6% and 27.3% of children classified as living in poverty in Reading West and Reading East respectively. This equates to over 15,000 locally affected children.
The negative impacts of poverty on children are wide reaching and indicate that this is an issue that affects every aspect of their lives. These children are at a greater risk of mental and physical health problems. They more frequently express a sense of hopelessness about their future. At school, they are more likely to go hungry or be punished for missing items of school uniform that their parents are simply unable to afford. They are more likely to be victims of bullying and to feel as though they are unsafe.
Christmas for many families is a time for celebration, giving and happiness but for those living in poverty, it is often a time of worry, stress and guilt.
Jeanie Herbert is a Manager at Alana House. The organisation helps to distribute toys from the charity’s Christmas appeal to families in need. She said “The additional cost of Christmas looms large and some parents see in advance that they will struggle to provide for their children. Families are suffering behind closed doors. Some are struggling to feed their children. Parents have faced ongoing stress and children will have also felt the impact of this. For people to help with the toy project and bring some normality to families this Christmas in a very strange year, would be a huge blessing to many”.
In 2019 Reading Family Aid delivered presents to over 2,000 children, an increase of 300 on the previous year. Given the significant financial impact that the COVID-19 pandemic has had on many, we are expecting more children than ever before to need your help. As well as donating, the charity would be incredibly grateful if you considered holding a fundraising event. You could organise a ‘mufti day’ at school or the office, a pyjama day for your ‘Zoom’ meetings, or share our crowdfunding page on your social media. Anything you can give, no matter how small will make a huge difference to these families at Christmas time. Thank you.
Our fundraising page will remain open until 4th December, at which point the fund will be used to buy presents that will be sent directly to organisations and distributed to underprivileged children across Reading. We’d also like to give a big thank you to our sponsors: Berkshire Freemasons, Big Yellow, Caversham Vehicle Hire.
To donate, please visit our Go Fund Me crowdfunding page.
You can also print out a poster here.
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