Help to feed Westminster children living in poverty

A flagship scheme has been launched to help drag 9,000 children out of severe poverty in one of the richest boroughs in the UK.

Save the Children charity has teamed up with Westminster Council to try and reduce the number of families in the borough struggling to feed their children.

Recent figures show almost one in four children in the borough live in severe poverty, which ranks Westminster as the fifth worst local authority in the country.

The borough’s poverty numbers are almost twice that of the national average.

Westminster Council’s children and young people’s boss, Cllr Nickie Aiken, said: “It is tragic that so many children are forced to live in conditions where they don’t have the most basic provisions.”

Save the Children Westminster Child Poverty Programme launches this month and will see three schemes rolled out for a period of three years.

The first project, Families and Schools Together, gives parents living in poverty an active role in their child’s education to improve pupils’ learning.

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The scheme is set to run in 11 schools across the borough following a successful pilot at Edward Wilson Primary School.

The second – Eat, Sleep, Learn, Play – gives grants to families in poverty to buy an essential household item such as a cooker, child’s bed or highchair.

The final scheme – In My Back Yard – empowers children to tackle poverty-related issues in their community by encouraging them to come up with their own solutions.

Angela Piddock, headteacher of Wilberforce Primary School, where a pilot project ran last year, said the scheme’s impact on her pupils had been “huge”.

Save the Children says families in severe poverty are forced to live on less than �5,000 a year for a single parent with one child, or less than �12,500 for a couple with two children.

Sally Copley, Save the Children’s head of UK poverty, said she hopes the programmes will make a real change to children living in poverty in the borough.

She said: “No child should be going without basic essentials such as beds or without the chance to do their best at school.

“Our programmes will help children of all ages and give them chances that they wouldn’t otherwise have.”