Empowering a Million Children in the UK with Beds and Hope

Empowering a Million Children in the UK Almost one million children in the UK are living without a bed, forced to share a bed with a family member or sleep on the floor, as bed poverty rates have increased dramatically due to years of austerity and the cost of living crisis. has been done. A recent report from children’s charity Barnardo’s found that an estimated 894,000 children, or 11%, do not have a suitable bed, with negative impacts on their education and mental health. .

Empowering a Million Children in the UK A Leeds-based charity wants to end bed poverty for good. The Independent is backing a Christmas appeal to provide 500 beds for society’s most vulnerable children. Zarak was founded in 2017 after deputy principal Bex Wilson noticed that an 11-year-old boy was struggling to pay attention in class. It was later discovered that he and his two brothers had been sleeping on bedbug-infested sofa cushions, with little assistance or services to provide them with a bed.

Since then, the charity has provided 7,019 beds for children in need and worked with more than 500 primary and secondary schools to provide family referrals. Over the past 12 months, the charity has expanded to Bradford, Huddersfield and Liverpool, providing almost 3,500 beds with the help of 100 volunteers, and demand has soared.

Empowering a Million Children in the UK CEO Andy Pears told The Independent: It’s about giving children the opportunity to participate in school. Everyone recognizes that education is the clear path to breaking the cycle of future poverty. A survey conducted by YouGov found that 20 per cent of children without a bed feel tired at school and 13 per cent have problems with physical activity, compared to 1 in 12 I’m having a problem with this. Parents said their children were “constantly tired” because they didn’t have their own beds to sleep in.

Barnardo’s study surveyed 1,049 parents and 1,013 children between the ages of 8 and 17 this fall. In the past 12 months, more than 187,000 families were unable to replace their child’s bedding due to washing and drying costs, and 336,000 families were unable to afford to replace or repair a broken bed. It turns out.

Zarach not only provides beds, but also support for families such as pajamas, duvets, pillows, toiletries and chocolate sweets. Current statistics show that 29 per cent, or more than one in four children, live in relative poverty, an increase of 350,000 between 2021 and 2022. The charity has built close relationships with schools and teachers across the North West of England to identify families struggling behind closed doors and without bedding.

Empowering a Million Children in the UK
Front view of 5 and 6 year old students in uniforms standing with mid 60s teacher, holding milk containers, and smiling at camera with cook in background. / Female Focus Collection

Once Zarak’s family carers receive a referral from the school, they speak to the parents over the phone before planning a visit to measure the bed to be delivered to the accommodation.

“We look at child poverty levels and child demographics, and through the work of other great organizations, we work to reduce bed poverty.” The largest family supported by the charity had 10 children, with children living in bunk beds or shared We learned how to adapt to the overcrowding of public housing through the use of bases. Once a family receives a bed, Ms Zarak will communicate with the school and receive progress reports. As a result of the intervention, 76% of children improved their performance.

“The first part is to make it clear to frontline professionals what the signs of bed poverty are,” Mr Pearce said. “If you have a child who doesn’t like to be engaged or who gets out of control easily, ask them how they slept last night before considering whether they have ADHD. Start there. That’s because it opens up a wider conversation.”

Empowering a Million Children in the UK
Paper cuts of boys in blue shades divided by black dotted line holding hands side by side with Scottish and British flags on each side of it

Thanks to the support of local sponsors, Zarac bed packages cost £180 each, which includes a £30 supermarket voucher towards your family’s Christmas dinner. Also included.

“The vision for the next three years is to reach 1,000 people a week in the areas of greatest need, but also to provide comprehensive support. “Beds alone will not end bed poverty.” Pierce says.

“It’s clear that we’re on a mission to stop this.” We are a charity that does not want to be here for many years to come.”

Geordie Greig, editor of The Independent, said: It is shocking that so many children do not have a bed to call their own, and it is important that we come together to solve this problem. ” Child poverty clearly highlights the challenges faced by families who do not have enough money to buy the basic necessities needed to raise happy and healthy children.

“Families in crisis must prioritize basic needs like food, heat, and electricity over things like replacing moldy bed linen or fixing rotten or broken beds.” Children share beds or sleep on the floor, all of which affect children’s development, school attendance and mental health. We are pleased to highlight that we are tackling the issue and supporting efforts in the run-up to Christmas, which is unfortunately a difficult time for many.”