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Food bank stock teens story.jpg
Trevor Chriss / Alamy Stock Photo
Food bank stock teens story.jpg
Trevor Chriss / Alamy Stock Photo
UK News

Christian charity urges government to act as half of teens go to bed hungry

by Alex Collett

Almost half of 16 to 25-year-olds have gone to bed hungry over the past year because of the rising cost of living.  

Centrepoint, a charity that supports the homeless, says almost a quarter have skipped work or education because of a lack of food.  

Last month, a peak in fuel prices drove inflation to new a new high. 

Just under a third of young people admitted that household bills were the main reason for neglecting their diet.  

Heather Paterson - who's from the homelessness charity - warns that in some cases, malnutrition can't be reversed. 

Liam Purcell from Church Action on Poverty told Premier: "It's almost like a perfect storm, we've been seeing a lot of issues happening, affecting people for years now -  and with churches. 

"Younger people are always on lower incomes, they're particularly affected by a very insecure, unstable labour market, where lots of people are working on zero hours contracts and very unstable, unreliable situations for work, which just aren't enough to help and get by. 

"We've also seen enormous cuts in the level of benefits. 

"The benefits were already at the point where people weren't able to cope and we're seeing enormous explosions in the number of people having to depend on food banks and other charitable food just to get by and that was what we had before the cost of the living crisis."

Churches have been the driving force behind many food banks.

Purcell said: "We have a programme that we've found very successful in the last couple of years, helping people deal with crisis, we run a programme called your local pantry. 

"You pay a membership fee each week and then you get a basket of food, you go into the shop and choose, which saves people up to 780 pounds a year on their groceries and that's a way of helping people. "

Purcell stresses whatever we do at community though and in churches it's not enough to fix the problem. 

He said: "We need government action to fix things like the situation with pay to potentially regulate energy costs and the cost of other things."

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