Around 200,000 children face neglect this Christmas, charity warns

The Children’s Society is highlighting disadvantaged children this Christmas (The Children’s Society/PA) Credit: Press Association Images

Around 200,000 children face emotional neglect this Christmas, a charity has warned.

The Children’s Society estimates 200,000 people aged 10 to 17 year do not get the support they need on a regular basis.

The charity also found, of those who said they were suffering from emotional neglect:

– 11% do not have their own bed<br>– 21% had been homeless in the last five years<br>– 20% lived in a household that had used a food bank in the last five years

Chief executive Matthew Reed said: “Christmas Day for them is no different and for many it simply amplifies the challenges they face.

“Too many young people will wake up on Christmas morning like any other – feeling alone and unable to cope.”

The Children’s Society has launched its #Christingle50 campaign, which includes festive services in schools and churches for the 50th year.

A song, called Light a Candle, has been commissioned by Louise Drewett, a young composer studying at the Royal Academy of Music, and the words have been written by poet Clare Shaw.

Ms Shaw said: “Having come through abuse and familial estrangement myself, I know that music and poetry can be a transformative experience for young people.

“Louise and I wrote this piece to be accessible to everyone but I hope that for some it will speak at a deeper level and that lines like ‘no child should feel alone’ will have a resonance.”

The song will be performed at Christingle celebrations in churches and cathedrals around the country and will feature in an advent episode of the BBC’s Songs of Praise.

A survey conducted on behalf of the Children’s Society in 2017 asked 3,000 children aged 10 to 17 in England, Scotland and Wales, or their parents, whether they had experienced a disadvantage in the last five years.