Buttle UK highlights kids beds crisis

1st August 2018

Blog

Gerri McAndrew, CEO of nationwide grant-giving children’s charity Buttle UK, has today written personally to a number of MP’s to alert them to a children’s beds crisis in their region, as part of our Beds for Kids campaign. 

Her letter asks these regional stakeholders to facilitate a discussion and work with the charity to provide grants to vulnerablefamilies in the area in order to buy beds and help alleviate the crisis.

Buttle UK, help children and young people in crisis by providing direct funding in the form of grants to some of the most vulnerable families in the UK. Their Chances for Children grants can fund a range of items and costs that the family needs, often these are basic household items and white goods that most of us take for granted.

Shockingly, in around a quarter of the 10,000+ families we helped last year, a child did not have a proper bed of their own to sleep in. Buttle UK provided 3,000 beds to these vulnerable children. Applying this percentage to the number of children living in poverty in the UK then the Charity estimate that a staggering 400,000 children in the UK do not have their own bed.

When children share a bed, it can lead to a range of problems; not least that when they do not get enough sleep they find concentration at school more difficult, impeding their learning and affecting their behaviour. Sleep is such a basic part of a child or young person’s needs; as essential as shelter, stability, even food and nourishment. There is extensive research that shows the necessity of good, healthy sleep for brain development in children. Against a backdrop of dramatic increases in the number of children being referred for sleep problems and the associated cost to the NHS, research indicates that as little as one hour less sleep a night could impede a child’s academic performance by up to two years

Gerri McAndrew commented, “I sincerely hope my letter will make these key stakeholders sit up and see the crisis that is unfolding in front of them.  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”

Recently Buttle UK partnered with Dreams Beds and The Sun newspaper for the ‘Beds for Kids’ campaign to highlight the issue. As part of the campaign Dreams Beds have donated 3,000 beds for children that Buttle UK will distribute, via their dedicated referral system, to a child or young person in need across the UK.

You can examine a breakdown of the predicted need for beds by local authority here.

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