Police Commissioner fears more kids will spend Christmas in poverty

Fresh concerns have been raised that Christmas could be extra tough this year in the region, especially for children.

By David Sedgwick
Friday, 17th December 2021, 7:00 am
Updated Friday, 17th December 2021, 10:28 am
PCC Kim McGuinness with the team at North East charity Clothe and Feed.
PCC Kim McGuinness with the team at North East charity Clothe and Feed.

Earlier this year, it was reported that the North East region has the second highest rate of child poverty in the UK with 37% of all children and young people living on or below the breadline.

Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner Kim McGuinness fears that winter is going to be tough this year, and has been supporting the Clothe and Feed charity with donations of Christmas jumpers and children’s toys in place of secret santa gifts between colleagues this year.

She said: “Thank goodness for places like Clothe and Feed, especially as there’s some real hardship with Covid and the end of furlough.

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"There are kids in our region who don’t even have a winter coat never mind a tree with presents under it.

"Families are facing big decisions over heating or eating.

“To think of any child having a miserable Christmas is heart-breaking but to think 1 in 3 kids in our region will be spending Christmas living on the breadline, which is many more than other areas of the country – it makes me cross and I feel disgusted the Government isn’t doing more.

“In recent years the North East has seen a dramatic jump in the number of children growing up in poverty – if anything, we’re levelling down.

“The best crime prevention is increased opportunity and reduced poverty.

"Criminals recruit those left desperate by deprivation – they’re vulnerable, they get drawn in and they can get involved in all sorts – drugs, serious violence.

“Tackling crime is about much more than law enforcement and it starts with improving lives.”

For four years charity Clothe and Feed have been providing struggling mums and vulnerable children living in the North East with essential items, either for incredibly low prices or free of charge.

In its mission to relieve clothing and food poverty for parents or carers and their dependent in local communities, the charity is now the largest baby and school clothing bank in the region with outlet locations currently in Wallsend, Byker, South Shields and Sunderland.

Shakira Robson, from Clothe and Feed, said: "This year has seen yet a further surge in the need for our services and affordable items."