A Liverpool charity is calling for kind-hearted ‘santas’ to deliver beds for children across the Liverpool City Region, claiming that over 10,000 don’t have one of their own to sleep in.
The charity, End Furniture Poverty, has launched its latest Bed for Kids campaign. The aim of this annual effort is to try and deliver beds to these children in time for Christmas.
National grant-giving charity Buttle UK estimates that there are 10,271 children across the Liverpool City Region who do not have a bed of their own to sleep in.
For many, that means having nowhere safe and comfortable to sleep — they could be sharing with parents or siblings, in a broken bed or worse, on the couch or floor. The knock-on effects of poor sleep caused by this can impact children’s health, development and education.
Last year’s Bed for Kids campaign was launched by Liverpool City Region’s mayor, Steve Rotheram. According to the charity, it managed to help “dozens” of local families before Christmas.
This year, with Universal Credit already rolled out across much of its region, the charity is looking to help even more. Changes to welfare have exacerbated the problem of poverty, with many families struggling to make ends meet; the charity says that for too many families, a bed is a “luxury they simply can’t afford”.
In a letter to MPs back in August, Buttle UK’s chief executive sough to highlight this beds crisis, and highlight the impact of welfare reform.
As Gerri McAndrew commented at the time: “The UK’s social safety net seems to be fraying. We are seeing increasing evidence amongst those we support that the changes to the welfare system of recent years are increasing the financial pressure they are already under.
“We are particularly concerned that local welfare funds available through local authorities — since the abolition of the Discretionary Social Fund in 2013 — seem to be disappearing or becoming harder to access.
“While we understand that public funds are stretched, we expect every local authority, whether they have prioritised the local welfare fund or not, to commit to ensuring that no child in their area will sleep without a bed of their own. In the 21st century this does not feel like an unreasonable expectation.”
As it launches its latest Beds for Kids campaign, End Furniture Poverty said it will be working with Merseyside support agencies and charities to identify children who need a bed and will be delivering them in time for Christmas.
The charity has already written to hundreds of local businesses asking for their help, with the ACC Liverpool Group and local social enterprise FRC Group, who run Bulky Bob’s, among the first to offer a donation.
It is also calling on members of the “famously generous” Merseyside public to donate at its Beds for Kids 2018 page.
“It’s shocking that as many as 10,000 children across the region are going without a bed of their own,” said Paul Colligan, End Furniture Poverty’s campaigns manager.
“Going to school unable to concentrate, too embarrassed to invite friends around for sleepovers and battling poor mental health. This is the day-to-day reality for too many children. It’s no way to start day and certainly no way to start life. We want to help as many children as possible in time for Christmas.”