Imagine if the best present a child received at Christmas was waking up safe? For four million children, that’s their daily reality with Christmas just being another day due to the destitution, domestic abuse or hunger they battle. Another day without food, shoes on their feet or a warm place to sleep. To put that into simple context, it means for every typical classroom of children, 9 are stuck in poverty and unable to enjoy their childhood due to the crisis they’re facing, 365 days of the year. We can change that.
Child poverty is it as it’s highest with the Independent reporting that child homelessness is at its peak in 12 years. Thousands of children, aged 10 or under, are facing a desperate Christmas in emergency sheltering or trapped in dangerous places. Is this really what our society is disregarding? Innocent children provided no shelter from the harsh wintery blusters, no food to keep them nourished or gifts to unwrap on Christmas day.
You’re probably wondering why I chose Christmas time to report on child poverty. It’s the simple reason of how at this festive period, due to a staggering influx in commodity fetishism (the want or desire for the latest must have products), many individuals take their situation for granted. Even the roof over your head or the family you have around the dining table, is more than some infants have in their entire lives. Traditional celebrations are often overlooked as their primary focus remains on emergency sheltering with no decorations or gifts. No one would wish for these circumstances themselves however if charities make yearly campaigns, in aim of getting young people help, don’t you think there needs to be a long-term solution? The government provides little to no help for the suffering, young people are forced to live on the streets as it’s a safer alternative to the abuse, violence, family breakups or mental health they endure. This needs a solution.
I’m not asking for a check of money or advising that you shouldn’t buy your child the latest phone, there are many other ways you can help poor children this Christmas time. Charities such as the Salvation Army or your local Goodwill, which are linked at the bottom of this article, appeal for children’s toy unwrapped or a small donation online so children all over the UK can open something from ‘Santa’ this Christmas. Other charities such as Centrepoint help tackle youth homelessness, with one of their former residents – Darren, who was aged 19 when he became homeless after family communications, writing a book called the Power of 21 which aims to help young people use their creative skills to their advantage. Darren now works as a youth worker and has become a Centrepoint trustee. Charities like Centrepoint aim to tackle the 22,000 of young people sleeping outside this Christmas time, you can help by donating or even joining their revolution and covering your walls with art and stickers.
The start of a new decade is approaching and so are new horizons. People are ready for change and new beginnings – be the change to a child’s Christmas. All I’m asking is that you have a simple thought on Christmas day for the children suffering. A thought of gratitude and hope that one year, a child may be able to write Santa a list and enjoy the day like the friends they go to school with. At a time of giving, kindness is the best present someone can receive.
From Young Reporters, we wish you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.
Article first appeared in the Grimsby Telegraph on 31st December 2019
By Young Report Beth Downes