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Opinion: How Preston’s child poverty conference opened my eyes to harsh reality of our city

Posted on - 2nd December, 2018 - 8:00pm | Author - | Posted in - Charities, Fulwood, Opinion, Politics
A hobby horse needing a lick of paint in a city park Pic: Tony Worrall
A hobby horse needing a lick of paint in a city park Pic: Tony Worrall

As a Fulwood born-girl, I came away from the child poverty conference at The Salvation Army feeling rather guilty.

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Exploring how Universal Credit has affected child poverty rates in the city, the figures and real-life stories discussed on the day delivered the true reality that was very much needed to be heard.

Sir Mark Hendrick MP spoke at the conference, revealing how child poverty devastatingly affects 38 percent of children in the constituency.

Not only that but Major Maggie Cadogan, of the Salvation Army, uncovered how their food bank delivers 200 food parcels per week to those families and individuals in need.

On one day alone, 88 food parcels were given out. That’s getting to be normal.

I was quite honestly astounded.

It made me think how ignorant I have been, and others too, about what is happening right on our doorstep. In our city.

There are so many people struggling to get by on things that I take for granted.

Read more: Impact Universal Credit is having on child poverty in Preston is explored

One story that really struck a cord with me was that of a female student, a mother of two, who was trying her best to continue her studies along with provide for her children.

Struggling to pay rent and struggling to survive, she has to rely on support like those of The Salvation Army.

Having recently graduated myself, this illustrated the massive, and truly sad, difference in our lives whilst studying.

I had the support of my family, a student loan and several part-time jobs to help me whilst at university.

I could only imagine what she was going through.

The conference opened my eyes to the harsh realities that are going on everyday and what was a calling for a desperate need for action.

Read more: Record numbers Light Up A Life at St Catherine’s Hospice

Various speakers went on to discuss where to go from here. What can be done to help?

A lot of it is to work together, to ensure all the key players are working in partnership to help reduce child poverty – from Job Centres to charities to councils.

Donations can be made to help food banks continue to make a difference in people’s lives.

Especially in the lead up to Christmas, food banks depend so much more on the help of individual people.

The Salvation Army is currently providing a ‘Gift for Christmas‘, with boxes containing food and gifts for families in need and you can donate to help make a different to someone’s life this Christmas.

If we all have the same goal, we can all work together to make a difference.

One thing that my school headteacher taught me, and has always stuck with me, is that even if one act doesn’t change the whole world, it can change the world of someone’s.

Maybe we should all try and do our bit to help make that a reality.

Read more: Gifts needed to help ensure Preston youngsters have a great Christmas

Have you been involved with any charities recently? What do you think? Let us know in the comments below

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