Why we must tackle the shocking scandal of childhood poverty in Leeds - the YEP says

Almost 33,000 children are living on the breadline in Leeds.
Almost 33,000 children are living on the breadline in Leeds.
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Every child in Leeds deserves the very best start in life.

Leeds takes pride in the very fact that it is a child-friendly city.

Yet it is sobering to think that almost 33,000 children are living on the breadline, right here in our communities.

They aren’t just another statistic.

They are someone’s sons, daughters, sisters and brothers.

Read more: How are more than 170,000 people living in Leeds in 2019 in absolute poverty?

These children are absolutely crucial to supporting the very future of a thriving city like Leeds.

But how can they be expected to have the best start to life, when their parents are faced with a very real dilemma about whether they can put food on their tables to fill their rumbling stomachs?

As part of a Yorkshire Evening Post series on social inequality, this week Emma Ryan looks at child poverty and the heart-breaking struggle for a mother trying to hold down a nurse placement and two children on £12 a week.

Read the full story: Shocking reality of child poverty revealed as homeless Leeds mum is forced to 'sofa-surf' with children aged six and two

Ethan and his little brother couldn’t even ask for seconds at meal times while his mum was faced with the very real threat of seeing her boys go hungry if she burned their tea.

Thankfully, there are groups across the city who are there to provide a lifeline to those who have found themselves in dire straits.

The city’s foodbanks have seen an increase in people turning to them for support and Leeds Baby Bank is seeing dozens of families looking for help every single week to help make ends meet.

Read more: New families on the breadline forced to ask city 'Baby Bank' for nappies and clothes

But in a 21st century city like Leeds, we should not have to rely on services like these to support our city’s families - like Michelle - who are desperately trying to make a living to ensure their children have the brightest of futures.