How many children are living in poverty in North Herts?
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Child poverty rates in North Herts have steadily increased over the past few years, although the latest statistics suggest the tide may be turning.
The House of Commons Library data shows the child poverty rate in North Herts has increased by 18 per cent since 2014/2015, but has decreased by two per cent since 2018/2019.
In 2014/2015 there were 2,867 child poverty cases in the district, while in 2018/2019 this rose to 3,423 cases.
Over the past two years this has decreased slightly, with 3,369 cases in total in 2019/2020.
Relative child poverty is defined as when a child is living in a household with an income below 60 per cent of the median in that year - which for 2020 would be any figure lower than £18,480.
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The COVID-19 and subsequent lockdowns led to many losing their employment or being furloughed, while parents were also faced with homeschooling and extra mealtimes at home.
The Trussell Trust, which supports a network of foodbanks across the UK, has reported that between April 2020 and March 2021, its foodbanks distributed 2.5 million emergency food parcels to people in crisis across the UK - 980,000 of which went to children.
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In total, 244,595 of those emergency parcels were given to people in the East of England.
Compared to this time five years ago, the need for food banks in the Trussell Trust's network has increased by 128 per cent.
Jeanette Thompson, NHDC’s service director for legal and community, said:
“We understand that families with children have been among the hardest hit by the pandemic. Over the past year we’ve delivered a number of projects to help them through a difficult year, including:
- Supporting the Food provision network and signposting families who need emergency help with food to local organisations in their area
- Distributing of food vouchers
- Providing Activity packs to families during the school holidays
- Supplying local charities and support groups with sanitary products to tackle period poverty
- Working with Survivors Against Domestic Abuse (SADA) to provide welfare packs to individuals and families who flee domestic abuse
- Supporting the Letchworth Best Before Café to purchase a basic kitchen for their new premises
- Working with the Hitchin Food Rescue Hub to stock up their non-perishable larder essentials
- Partnering with the Family Support Service, provided by the North Herts Family Centre, to encourage local families with children under 5 to sign up to receive advice and support from the Centre
"In addition to these projects, we have also provided £42,150 from the Coronavirus support grants between June 2020 and now to help alleviate child poverty.
"We continue to work in partnership and support a wide variety of groups across the district providing food to those in need, mainly families but also individuals and older people who are in need.”