Nearly a third of people in one part of Uckfield are living in poverty, according to data presented to the town council last night (September 16).
At the same time food poverty is on the increase.
More and more people are using the Foodbank, which is running out at times, a report to councillors said.
Cllr Ben Cox’s report said: “Over the last nine years of low growth, wage stagnation and austerity, overall poverty and especially food poverty has grown.”
His report gave the following percentages of people considered to be living in poverty, drawn from the district council website:
- 27.3% of Uckfield Newtown;
- 15.0% of Ridgewood;
- 28.0% of Uckfield East; and
- 32.0% North.
He highlighted the health consequences, especially for children, of families not having enough to eat. And during the debate, he said children at the recently opened youth club were asking for cooked food.
“The average young person living in food poverty will lose out on four months education over a year because their brain is starving when out of free school meal time. This has a detrimental effect on their lives and also our local economy in the future,” he said in the report.
He said it should be a priority of Uckfield Town Council to end youth food poverty in the lifetime of the authority (four years from last May’s election).
His resolution to the council read:
“Uckfield Town Council Council notes that youth food poverty is growing and that overall food poverty is growing in Uckfield. The Town Council resolves to:
- investigate the size of youth food poverty in Uckfield primary and secondary schools and to our best endeavours try to reduce it within the life of this council;
- look at working with external bodies (Foodcycle and Chomp) to assist in tackling food poverty in young people;
- run an information campaign to inform the public on how to deal with food poverty using local charities and government aids. This could include advising councillors in order to enable them to spread the word;
- work closely with schools to see what assistance is needed to help reduce the effects of food poverty in their students (ie breakfast and after school clubs).”
The council agreed the resolution but added that it would be at no cost to the council and that information would be signposted to the district and county councils which between them have responsibilities for public health and for provision for children.
Uckfield Food bank opened in September 2013 (see our report here) and Cllr Cox said that the year before there were reports that local people were going to Hailsham and Haywards Heath to use the food banks in those towns.
From our files
In January, UckfieldNews.com carried a six-part series about Citizens Advice and the difference it makes to people’s lives. It ended with a comment by our then Saturday columnist Observer: Shock that ghost of Charles Dickens is still alive. That article contains links to the other five parts of the series which shows the depth of poverty in the Uckfield area.
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