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Haverhill charity REACH Community Projects makes three-pronged appeal after seeing an ‘alarming’ rise in hardship





After new figures revealed rises in food insecurity, absolute poverty and home-heating poverty, Haverhill-based charity REACH Community Projects has made a triple plea.

This comes after recent media headlines that revealed the ‘biggest rise in UK absolute poverty for 30 years’ and ‘300,000 more UK children falling into absolute poverty’.

Reacting to the released figures and headlines, REACH’s CEO, Henry Wilson MBE said: “These figures across the whole UK reflect pretty well exactly what we are currently seeing locally.

REACH Community Projects CEO, Henry Wilson MBE, has issued a triple plea as the charity continues its work in the face of rising levels of poverty and food insecurity Contributed picture
REACH Community Projects CEO, Henry Wilson MBE, has issued a triple plea as the charity continues its work in the face of rising levels of poverty and food insecurity Contributed picture

“The numbers of people, families, children, pensioners we are helping, with debt advice, welfare assistance, benefits claims and emergency food, is up alarmingly and we are having to respond across a broad front and in innovative ways.

“I make a triple plea today. Firstly to all those who are suffering financial hardship, at whatever level, to get in touch with REACH without delay and let us find ways through your crisis.

“My second plea is to those in power, of whichever political persuasion and as a matter of dire urgency, to bring about a well thought through approach to poverty, rather than just sticking plaster measures, because it’s a not over by any means and is a blot on what is supposed to be a civilised and leading nation.”

REACH not only supports those in immediate need but also has a longer term approach to poverty and details of its 2024 programme, featuring ‘Prevention, Policy and Pounds in Pockets’, will shortly be released.

“My third plea today.” said Henry. “is to our truly wonderful benefactors and donors who stick with us and enable us to deliver this much needed work in the community and I ask that you continue your kind and generous support at this crucial time – thank you so very much.”

Official data shows that, for example, says REACH, in 2022-23 there was a 600,000 rise in the numbers of people in absolute poverty bringing the total to 12 million nationally, a current rate of 18 per cent.

Food insecurity rose from eight to 11 per cent of individuals while the proportion unable to afford home heating went from four to 11 per cent.

Meanwhile, 69 per cent of children in families experiencing poverty have one or more working parents, along with estimates of 2.9 million children in deep poverty.

REACH, which also has an office in Newmarket, is not alone, however, in making its points, being joined by much respected bodies such as Citizens Advice, The Joseph Rowntree Foundation, The Institute for Fiscal Studies, The New Economics Foundation, The Child Poverty Action Group and The Food Foundation