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  1. ITV Report

Shocking rise in child poverty across the East

Pamela Kissi struggles to buy food for her daughters. Credit: ITV News Anglia

An exclusive report by ITV News Anglia has found child poverty in parts of our region is getting worse.

More and more families are struggling to make ends meet with many having to rely on charities to provide the basics like food, clothes and furniture.

Children’s nutrition is suffering, we’re seeing a return of diseases like rickets and even scurvy - diseases we thought were eliminated so many years ago.

– Louisa McGeehan, Child Poverty Action Group
  • Click below for Tanya Mercer's report

Suffolk mum Pamela Kissi struggles every day to feed her daughters and pay the bills. Some days it is just not possible to do both.

“Sometimes I wake up thinking, what am I going to give the kids because the cupboard has run out?" she said.

"It came to a point one day when we couldn’t pay council tax. I called the council, I explained to them there isn’t any way I can pay this, so they sent the bailiffs to come and collect our stuff."

Pamela left her job to have her twin girls thinking she would return to work when they were a couple of years old. But as a single parent she can not afford childcare for two children and that makes finding a job very difficult.

Pamela's children: Angel and Joshuanah Credit: ITV News Anglia

Louisa McGeehan, from the Child Poverty Action Group, said: “It is getting worse and we say we’re heading into a child poverty crisis at the moment.

"Children’s nutrition is suffering, we’re seeing a return of diseases like rickets and even scurvy - diseases we thought were eliminated so many years ago.

"The impact of growing up in poverty has a lifelong impact on children."

Despite perceptions that the East is a relatively affluent region, there are areas where huge numbers of children live in deprivation.

Percentage of children living in poverty:

  • Ipswich - 27.8%
  • Waveney - 27.9%
  • Norwich South - 30.5%
  • Great Yarmouth - 31%
  • Clacton - 37.4%

The Suffolk-based charity FIND helps families living in deprivation.

Every week they deliver necessities like food, furniture and clothes to help those who can't afford the basics for their children.

Maureen Raynel says 2018 was the worst of the twenty eight years she has been running the charity.

“It has grown," she said. "This problem that we’ve had for many, many years just doesn’t go away.

"Regardless of which Government says they can do something about child poverty it isn’t working.

"It’s ongoing - every year there is a rise in food parcel needs, in basic furniture needs, it just goes up and up”

Food banks are facing an increasing demand for their services. Credit: ITV News Anglia

And it is a similar story at a food bank in Ipswich.

Roz Eminson said: “It continues to get worse. Three or four years ago we were sending out about 3,000 food parcels during the course of a year, now I think we’re around 5,000."

Charities are providing basics like clothes for families. Credit: ITV News Anglia

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