Church leaders join forces to tackle poverty in North East
published on 18 Oct 2023
The Salvation Army is joining forces with church leaders across the North East of England to explore ways of tackling poverty as figures show a third of children in the region live below the poverty line.
The Challenging Poverty in the North East event, which took place in Durham this month to mark Challenge Poverty Week (October 16th to 22nd) and was co-hosted by Church Action on Poverty North East, Thrive Teesside and the Bishop of Durham the Rt Reverend Paul Butler, aims to find solutions to poverty through collaboration.
It comes as recent research conducted by Loughborough University shows that 51,000 North East children have been pulled into poverty since 2015 with an estimated 35 per cent of the region’s children and young people (190,000) living below the poverty line in 2021/22. Of the North East’s 29 constituencies, 21 have over a third of children in poverty, mostly living in working households.
Major David Burns said: “Areas of the North East have some of the highest levels of deprivation across the country. It is not okay that we have children going to school hungry or elderly people sitting in the cold because they are afraid of putting the heating on.
“If we are to tackle this issue, we have to work together to find solutions, so I was grateful for the opportunity to join with church leaders and hear from people who have lived experience at this event. This is the start of a collaboration where we use our own experience as a church and charity to effect change and help tackle the root causes of poverty.”
The Salvation Army is on the frontline supporting people through the cost of living crisis providing practical and spiritual support to struggling families and individuals, people who are homeless and the elderly and isolated.
Major David continued: “The Salvation Army is always looking at ways we can ease the burden for people with our church leaders, employees and dedicated volunteers responding to local need running food provision, providing warm clothing, school uniforms, shelter, help into employment and much more.
“Now our focus turns to Christmas, which is the busiest time of the year for many of our churches, as they help ensure thousands of vulnerable children across the North East have presents to open on Christmas Day as part of our Christmas Present Appeal.”
Recently The Salvation Army in Stockton launched a collaboration with charity The Bread and Butter Thing, providing bags of food at lower cost saving struggling families on average of £25 on their weekly food bills while our Gateshead church held a two day ‘Every Child Warm’ event to provide free warm clothing and shoes to children in time for the autumn school term. Find our more about The Salvation Army in the North East here.