Tag Archives: social isolation

Hungry children are suffering, here in the UK

I’ve been doing a bit of work in my constituency about the effects of Universal Credit on local people, the rising use of Food Banks, and the inadequate funding given to rural schools in North Devon.

With that perspective, I was dismayed but not surprised to read a recent article highlighting the social exclusion experienced by children living in poverty.

This is personal for me – I grew up in a military household, having enough to live on but not a lot, and when my father left the forces, we were poor for a couple of years until he retrained and got another job. For those years, I felt excluded. I wore hand-me-downs and home-made clothes. I didn’t fit in as we had moved into a rural community from outside the country. My accent was funny, my safety net of having friends from military families on base was gone, and I was bullied. Things settled down, but I will never forget that first year of leaving the ‘family’ of military life and entering civilian life as an 11-year-old child. But I was never hungry.

The new study by University College London, Living Hand to Mouth, published yesterday, looks at the impact hunger has on children’s lives. As readers will know, free school meals have been cut back by the Conservative Government. It is Lib Dem policy, however, to reinstate free school meals for all those on Universal Credit and, further, that all primary school children regardless of their income level should have a free school meal. Nutrition is ever so important for learning. A healthy child is one who can flourish and absorb knowledge. A hungry one can not.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , , and | 6 Comments

The January Blues: Loneliness

After the hype of Christmas and New Year’s there comes the annual collective let-down. Absolutely normal after super-charged activity and lots of parties, but what about those who have loneliness as a constant companion?

Before I pontificate, I should declare I enjoy self-imposed loneliness. I am a pianist, and some of my happiest days are when I see no-one at all.  Difficult to explain to a non-musician. There was a recent Christmas where I left the family with the in-laws, and came home to my studio for 8 days of uninterrupted work. …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 5 Comments
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