Much is being made in the media of the issue of Child Poverty. According to the 2015 Child Poverty Monitor, 29% of our children now live in poverty compared with 15% in 1984 and three out of five children in poverty live this way for many years. But poverty is not restricted to children. The focus on child poverty is politically driven; it appears in the media on a regular basis at Christmas time and in election years. Children add an emotional dimension to the issue which attracts more attention, but the reality is adults live in poverty alongside children, and without children. Poverty is endemic amongst the elderly. Many adults in poverty are likely to be women either bringing up children alone or living alone in old age.
Poverty is never more obvious than at Christmas time. Financial stress is no doubt a significant factor in the increase in domestic violence at this time of year, and the increased demand for budget advice. Debt levels rise, trapping people further in poverty.
Living in poverty is not something people do by choice. There are multiple causes which require a multi-pronged solution. Governments can address poverty through stimulating economic growth and providing low cost housing and financial support. However, there is much that can be done at the grass roots level in local communities, through charitable organisations working directly with those living in poverty. They simply require more resources to do their work. Poverty is a community problem, not a Government problem. It’s poverty, not just child poverty, and it can be eliminated by building strong local communities who pool their economic resources to help those who have less. This Christmas, think about what difference you can make in your local community by supporting charitable organisations working with those in need.