Help Now to End Child Poverty and Food Insecurity in Ryde and Isle of Wight!

Source ? - Poster Mayor’s Pancake Challenge February 2023

Crowdfunding to Support food poverty in Ryde. on JustGiving

This week has been National Children’s Mental Health Week (6th-12th February) and I have been raising the issue and asking questions at IW Council.

In January 2019, I successfully put forward a Motion to IW Council to get a commitment to reduce child poverty on the Isle of Wight in 5 years. 4 years on and in fact child poverty has seriously risen. The key indicator for child poverty is the number of children receiving free school meals and this has risen by 63%.

This is totally unacceptable in the UK in the 21st Century and for me this is has to be a priority for Ryde Town and IW Councils. We should have an up-to-date IW and Ryde Child and Family Poverty Strategy and openly discuss this and find productive ways to tackle the causes. Key facts are:

  • Data shows us that 4.3 million children in the UK were living in poverty in 2019-20 prior to Covid19. This equates to 30% of all children are living on poverty or 9 in a classroom of 30. In 2018, there were over 7,600 children on the Isle of Wight reported living in poverty. 1405 children living in Ryde were living in poverty in 2018. If the main indicator for child poverty is free school meals and we know that eligibility of free school meals has risen by 63% on the Isle of Wight, the figure on the IW is now around 12388 and in Ryde the figure could be in 2023, possibly 2290. We need up-to-date data to clarify the figure and I will be raising this shortly. The point I am making is that there are between 1405 to 2290 children living in Ryde who are hungry and living in a family who has food insecurity.
  • 49% of children living in single parent families are living in poverty. There is a need to increase support for single parent families.
  • Work does not provide a guaranteed route out of poverty in the UK especially on the Isle of Wight where wages are low. 75% of children growing up in poverty live in a family where at least one person is working so it is a myth that all children living in poverty are in a family with unemployed parents. Many parents in Ryde and Isle of Wight living in poverty actually have a number of jobs to try and make ends meet but most of these jobs are often zero contract hours and at minimum wage rates.
  • We now have two years of data from the Family Resources Survey (FRS) on food insecurity. The second year of data (from 2020/21) shows that 2.4 million people in poverty in the UK had a low or very low food security status, meaning they are unable to access enough, varied and/or nutritious quality food. Therefore, almost 1 in 5 (18%) people living in poverty were food insecure. In comparison, only 3% of people not in poverty had a low or very low food security status. This highlights the strong relationship between food insecurity and poverty. The data also shows us that 27% of households in receipt of Universal Credit were food insecure. This means that Ryde food projects such as Oakfield Community Pantry, Ryde Foodbank, Oakvale Foodshare, and Ryde Aspire are extremely and all other food projects are essential for families and children now today. This is an important message to get out in the community.
  • In 2020/21, the child poverty rate for children in families with three or more children was almost twice as high as the rate for children in one- or two-child families (38% compared with 21% and 22%). This means around 1 in 5 children in one- or two-children families were in poverty, compared with almost 2 in 5 children in families with three or more children. The feedback I get in Ryde is that families with 3 or more children are really struggling especially those living in private rented accommodation.
  • Joseph Rowntree Report (2023) states: “The impact of the cost of living crisis on customs taken for granted is laid bare in our latest cost of living tracker where around half of the poorest fifth of families say they have reduced spending on food for adults, half are already reducing the number of showers they take and around 6 in 10 are heating their home less. Around 4 in 10 families with children are spending less on food for their children. This is the background to the growth in food bank use, with the latest full year Trussell Trust data covering 2021/22 showing a much higher level of use than before the pandemic” (Joseph Rowntree Foundation 2023).
  • Many people in the UK struggle to have enough food. Even more struggle to afford food that is nutritious – food that meets dietary needs and food preferences for an active and healthy life. The banner of food insecurity covers a wide range of circumstances where there is a lack of access to sufficient, varied food, or a risk of this. Apart from basic nutrition, food security is linked to economic stability and long-term health. For children, severe food insecurity has been linked to chronic health conditions like asthma and depression. A diet lacking in calories, protein, vitamins and minerals will impede a child’s physical, cognitive and emotional development. Adults in food-insecure households have higher rates of developing chronic diseases such as arthritis, asthma, diabetes and mental health issues, as well as lower life expectancy. For a pregnant woman, it can lead to higher risk of low birthweight, pre-term delivery and slow cognitive development for her baby.

The key for me is to raise this issue and get people talking about this issue and develop achievable targets and outcomes for the Isle of Wight and Ryde to work towards ending child poverty. My campaign started in 2016 continues more than ever. Please support me!

Ryde mayor’s pancake challenge returns in memory of selfless foodbank volunteer (yahoo.com)

Rise in Isle of Wight child poverty: Free school meal eligibility up 63% in four years (onthewight.com)

Isle of Wight’s children’s mental well-being has to be a priority, says Mental Health Champion (onthewight.com)

Find out if you can flip more pancakes than the Ryde Mayor and help raise money for food poverty (onthewight.com)

Key facts – End Child Poverty

Over 7,600 Isle of Wight children living in poverty: See full area breakdown (onthewight.com)

Food poverty in the UK: The causes, figures and solutions (bigissue.com)

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