Advertisement

  1. ITV Report

Thousands of children in Kent and Sussex face Christmas in deprivation

Two children in every primary school class in Kent and Sussex face Christmas without warmth or fresh food.

In the south east over 87,0000 children under the age of 10 will be going without the basics this Christmas - that's 2 in every classroom.

According to the charity Action for Children - one million children will be without the basics - that could be a warm winter coat, or having a house that's heated.

The charity says many worse-off families struggle to afford their children's lunch. Credit: ITV Meridian

New research from the charity also shows parents below the breadline struggle to afford nutritious food vital for health and development.

With no free school meals available during the school holidays, the charity says it leaves many worse-off families struggling to afford their children's lunch.

Here's charity's senior policy advisor Vicky Fino:

Action for Children says at least 50 of its services across the country have provided foodbank support over the past year and with demand so high, the charity is planning to host unofficial foodbanks again over the festive season.

The charity is warning thousands of children face deprivation this Christmas Credit: ITV Meridian

"No parent in the South East should have to face the awful prospect of their youngster sitting in the cold without a plate of food to eat at the end of a school day, or skip dinner themselves so their child has a meal.

"Politicians are telling us austerity has ended but every day at Action for Children our frontline services say child poverty levels are at the worst they can remember. While some families will spend the Christmas holidays putting their children to bed early to keep warm because they can't afford to heat the house, for others it has become the norm not to have a winter coat, rely on foodbanks, or for their children to miss out on hot meals.

"The next Government must deliver ambitious policies to end child poverty and bring in a National Childhood Strategy to give all our children a safe and happy childhood. But until every family has enough money to keep their child warm and well fed, we will continue to help them. That's why we're asking the public to get behind our Secret Santa campaign to help us support our most vulnerable children, not just at Christmas but every day."

– Action for Children's Director for England, John Egan