Taking action to combat child poverty

Virginia Bucknor at the Oasis Centre where she is promoting the Rainbow Savers scheme
Virginia Bucknor at the Oasis Centre where she is promoting the Rainbow Savers scheme

While the figures released may shock some people, there is a lot of work going on behind the scenes to combat the issues of child poverty.

Virginia Bucknor is a councillor for Waterlees ward in Wisbech and said the high figures were “extremely concerning”.

She is very involved with the work going on at the nearby Oasis Centre, which has a lot of programmes and services for those struggling, including an on-site nursery and a Rainbow Savers credit union.

Many people in poverty get into unmanageable debt and have poor credit ratings, which means they are tempted to borrow from loan sharks.

“The Rainbow Savers scheme encourages people to save, even if it’s only one pound per week,” Virginia said. “Then, once they save regularly, they can borrow money at low rates from a safe source.”

Emma Davies is a family worker for the Ormiston Trust, covering March, Chatteris and the villages and said the figures are “a real worry”.

Emma said the number of people accessing the Ormiston services in the March area has doubled, but puts some of that down to more people knowing what they do. The team works closely with a number of families, signposting them in the right direction so they can get the help they need.

“But it’s important to add that it’s not just people on benefits who are struggling,” she said. “Working families are being stretched, everybody is.”

Cllr John Clark is the March East ward councillor. They are in the process of developing a Rainbow Savers and the Neale-Wade is running several programmes to help disadvantaged children, including Saturday lessons and IT programmes to help improve English grades.

He said: “We are aware of the issues and we want to make a difference. There is a lot of good stuff going on to help.”