Supplying beds to local families in need is common says Kent vicar

Rev Carol Avery, Assistant Curate at Stone St Mary, has said supplying beds to families in poverty in their area is ‘common’, following claims by a national charity that the government is failing to tackle ‘bed poverty’.

Her comments come after figures released by Buttle UK suggest that thousands of children are having to share with siblings or sleep on floors across Britain; last year the charity supplied 55 beds in Kent; the second highest number supplied after Birmingham.

Speaking to BBC Radio Kent, Carol, who is involved with Mary’s Child, a joint project between St. Mary Stone and St. Mary Greenhithe which supports local vulnerable families, said that giving beds to families in need was not unusual:

“Between March and June we gave away on average one bed a week and that excludes cots, travel cots and moses baskets. So, it might be within a small area, but the need is very high.”

Carol also spoke of her experience of meeting families from a variety of situations who often have very little furniture, very little food and not enough toys for the children:

“There are people who find themselves suddenly unemployed, maybe through critical illness. We have a lot of people coming out of some of the other London boroughs, as well as those coming out of refuges who have absolutely nothing and they just need to be given everything, right down to knives and forks.

“We have families who are working but who just can’t afford the basics because of the cost of property in this area and of travel. It’s very complex and there is no one typical family facing these sorts of difficulties.”

Commenting on what more could be done by government, Carol said that she would like more officials to meet with families to see the detrimental impact living in such circumstances can have:

“There’s no one answer, but I would love to see more councillors and government officials come and actually talk to some of these families and see how complicated it is for them, and how desperate they are to give their children a really good start. Very often it is the parents giving their children the beds and it is the parents sleeping on the floor.”

Listen to Rev Carol Avery on BBC Radio Kent here: (2hrs 6 minutes in)

Read more about the Buttle UK story here


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