Adam Ratliff: 4.5 minute read

Child Poverty in the United Kingdom part two

Routes out of poverty

There are many ways in which support can be provided, but in the long term, there really is only one route out of poverty. Society needs to commit to ending child and food poverty. This change needs to be championed by politicians and on the ground, in towns and cities. Child poverty is not inevitable and the historical precedence is that child poverty levels in the UK have been significantly lower than they are today.

Ensuring that every child receives the best start to life is the right thing today and the best investment for the country. Children are the future and ensuring that they are provided with the best chance to achieve their dreams and give back to the country is an investment worth fighting for.

Work is being done in the short term but in the long term, the route out of poverty is clear, through long-term societal commitment.

The Child Action Poverty Group

The Child Action Poverty Group has more than 50 years of expertise and knowledge with regards to devising and promoting solutions to alleviate child poverty.

If politicians take the right action to address the causes of child poverty, no child needs to grow up experiencing financial hardship. This includes ensuring decently paid jobs; good, accessible childcare; and a strong social security system to keep people's heads above water and provide support when it's needed.
Solutions to Poverty, The Child Action Poverty Group

The group is a cause that is close to our hearts as they campaign against child poverty and look to raise the issue amongst society. At present, there are 4.5 million children living in poverty in the United Kingdom.

The Child Action Poverty Group lists the steps that need to be taken to combat this:

  • Benefits must reflect need - a fundamental principle of the UK's welfare state.
  • The administration of the benefits system must be improved.
  • Housing and childcare remain the most expensive items in the budgets of working families with small children.
  • We must end the growing impermanence of paid work.
  • More than anything, as a nation we need to recommit to ending poverty, as a national priority.

We agree with their principles and the goals which they have set themselves and this is why we have decided to challenge ourselves as an organisation ahead of our 30th year in operation.

Walk in the Shoes Challenge

To celebrate our 30th anniversary, we are 'walking in the shoes of our customers'. Over a grueling 60 days, each OLM team will run/walk or crawl 1136.8 miles across the UK (Virtually). 13 teams are taking part in the challenge in order to complete more than 14,500 miles in aid of child and food poverty.

Additional pressures have been placed on families following the outbreak of the pandemic. Many are struggling to get by and this is why, when pass our customers on the route, we will be donating to a local food bank, whilst running fundraising activities at the same time.

At OLM, we care about solving today's problems and invest to solve their causes. It is with this in mind that we are fundraising for Child Poverty Action Group over the course of our challenge.

Putting the fun in fundraising

In the run-up to the bank holiday weekend, we ran a series of fundraising activities to raise funds for the Child Action Poverty Group. A recipe challenge, alongside a quiz, fruit carving, and living on limited funds for a few days. The team rallied behind the fundraising, as we can all agree that the cause is one in which we cannot ignore.

Raising more than £2,000 in the space of a week is a fantastic achievement and one for which we are proud of our team for achieving. One member of the team even lived on five pounds for five days in order to raise awareness of food poverty, through experiencing it himself for a few days.

The recipe activity challenged the team to recreate a dish from Marcus Rashford’s most recent campaign. We provided them with half of the ingredients and challenged them to be creative, whilst also on a budget. A key part of the competition here was to highlight how difficult it is to be creative with limited funds.

Living on five pounds for five days was a challenge and one that the OLMer in question described as, “It is a challenge for me but a reality for many out there”. We can forget the simple considerations in life when others struggle to be able to do the same.

As of writing, we have now raised £2,448 in aid of the Child Poverty Action Group. The journey is not over though for many families across the country and the world, and so we continue. We continue to raise awareness and funds, as we resume our journey around the United Kingdom.

What can you do?

It is easy to get involved. The Child Poverty Action Group has information available to spark those creative juices. From a virtual rowing challenge to fruit carving or a gaming evening. There are many ways to join in and put the fun in fundraising.

Beyond this, it is simply being mindful. As a society, there is a growing disparity between those from a wealthy background and those from a poorer background, with the vulnerable being caught in the middle. Children have no ideology and deserve the opportunity to grow and develop, not to be left behind to fend for themselves.

A true measure of post-Brexit Britain is how we treat the most vulnerable members of society. Whilst there is amazing work that is being done, there is still more to do.