London Challenge Poverty Week spotlights swelling child poverty problem

Several organisations are working together to highlight the issues surrounding child poverty in London, and hoping to implement solutions to address the problem. 

This year is the sixth annual London Challenge Poverty Week, with the dates always incorporating the UN International Day for the Eradication of Poverty on October 17. 

Katherine Hill, Strategic Project Manager of ‘4in10’, London’s Child Poverty Network, discussed the importance of London Challenge Poverty Week.

Hill said: “This week hundreds of organisations and individuals are coming together to highlight the injustice of poverty in our city.” 

The key aims of the London Challenge Poverty Week are to: increase the visibility of the reality of poverty in London; encourage positive debate and discussion about poverty; show what is being done to tackle poverty and call for the changes needed to end it.

According to Hill, children are at particular risk of experiencing the damaging ripple effect of poverty in London.

London has the highest rate of child poverty in England, with up to 800,0000 (or 39%) of children in the capital living in poverty according to certain experts.

One organisation at the forefront of spotlighting the significance of London Challenge Poverty Week for children in the city is ‘The Childhood Trust’.

Laurence Guinness, The Childhood Trust Chief Executive, has been working extensively over the last seven years to address the enduring problem of child poverty in London. 

Guinness said: “Our overarching work focuses on alleviating the impact of poverty on children in London.” 

The Childhood Trust was formed in 2013, and has since raised around £40m to support the delivery of over 900 charitable projects working with disadvantaged and young people across the capital. 

In the last year alone, funding raised by The Childhood Trust was over £8.8m and has directly helped to ensure that over 260,000 children across the capital have access to crucial assistance such as nutritious meals and receiving learning support.

Guinness said: “The work of the Childhood Trust through the projects we fund is to remove all those barriers that poverty creates.

“It is not fair that the childhood and future opportunities of many young people is dictated by economic hardship.”

ACTIVITIES AND OPPORTUNITIES: The Childhood Trust presents a wide-range of programmes and projects to improve the life chances of disadvantaged children (Photo Credit: The Childhood Trust)

On Tuesday October 17, Childhood Trust in partnership with the London Child Poverty Alliance organised the annual ‘The London Child Poverty Summit’, which has taken place over the last five years during London Challenge Poverty Week. 

The summit is a one-day event featuring presentations, panels and debate from experts on child poverty, including government representatives, educators, youth workers, and young people impacted by poverty. 

At this particular time, Guinness highlighted the importance of providing more support to children impacted by poverty in London. 

He said: “The number of children living in poverty and going hungry is consistently increasing, it is urgent that these kids are given support.” 

The Childhood Trust Chief Executive said that a lot of problems afflicting impoverished children are not spotlighted enough. 

Guinness highlighted that referrals to children’s mental health services in London have nearly doubled in the last year, which he believes is an indictment of the rise in poverty amongst families in London. 

There are also currently roughly 87,000 children in London living in temporary accommodation, and almost all of these homes are deemed neither safe nor suitable living conditions. 

Despite the challenges facing organisations tackling child poverty, there is optimism for the future according to both Hill and Guinness. 

Hill said: “We want this week to show that we already have many of the solutions to put an end to it and bring the reality of a poverty free London one step closer.”

Guinness also mentioned that the London Child Poverty Summit presented more opportunities to grow the capacity and sustainability of children’s charities and organisations in the wider network.

He said: “There is plenty that can be done to tackle child poverty if people work together.” 

You can make a donation to The Childhood Trust using this link: 

Feature Image Credit: The Childhood Trust

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