A Northamptonshire charity says one in four children in the UK is living in poverty - with 11,934 young people in Northampton alone growing up below
Northamptonshire Food Poverty Network is stepping up its campaign to raise awareness of the rising levels of child poverty in the UK.
They will be working with the national #EndHunger UK campaign which is a coalition of charities including Oxfam, The Trussell Trust, Church Action on Poverty, Nourish Scotland, Child Poverty Action Group and the Independent Food Aid Network.
It comes as the Child Poverty Action Group reports that more than one in four children are growing up in poverty and government data published this year shows that children living in absolute poverty has increased to 3.7 million. In Northampton alone there are 11,934 children living in poverty.
To kick-start the local campaign, Northamptonshire Food Poverty Network is supporting the Children’s #Right2Food Charter, which was recently delivered to Downing Street to call on the Government to address increasing rates of child food insecurity and poverty and is a piece of work being championed by the Food Foundation.
It involves five key recommendations for children and young people including a "Healthy Lunch Guarantee", "the Healthy Food Minimum", "the Children’s Food Watchdog", "Health before Profits" and "Stopping the Stigma".
Clive Ireson, a member of the network and co-ordinator for Springs Family Centre based in Spring Boroughs, Northampton, said: “I think what schools in particular are finding and in Springs Family Centre, is there is much hidden child food insecurity.
"If we could measure that better we would be able to allocate resource to ensure there are less children going to bed hungry. Healthy lunchtime is very welcome. It is important that children and young people are not stigmatised by others who have more to spend in the school canteen.”
Pandora Haydon, of the Food Foundation, said: “Children living in poverty have told this Inquiry directly that they don’t have enough to eat and that the food their parents can afford is harming their health.
"We should care about unlocking our children’s potential, but instead the food insecurity experienced by millions of young people in the UK is hindering their growth, crippling their confidence and making it impossible to learn and develop.
"The Inquiry’s report and its recommendations prove that there are things we can do, right now, to make sure children have enough nutritious food. It’s an opportunity to right the wrongs we have tolerated for too long – we cannot let it pass us by.”
Northamptonshire Food Poverty Network will be receiving a brief and update on the Children's Future Food Inquiry in June.