The Help a Maidstone Child fund was set up in 2012 with the purpose of supporting the lives of disadvantaged children (up to the age of 19) living in the borough of Maidstone. With the help of local residents and businesses, the Help a Maidstone Child panel believes a difference can be made to the lives of Maidstone’s disadvantaged children. Our aim is to attract, encourage and distribute money that will be used to increase the life chances and wellbeing of children and to reduce inequalities. Every child deserves a chance in life and you can help make that happen.
The economic downturn had a crippling effect on many households, and there have been heavy spending cuts in budgets across the board, including in organisations involved in the welfare of children. This is undoubtedly having a huge effect on the day to day lives of children. Indeed, a study by End Child Poverty (2013) found that 13% of children living in Maidstone are living in poverty. This is hard to understand, especially when Maidstone and the South East generally are often seen as being amongst England’s most prosperous areas.
Commenting on the figures, Enver Solomon, Chair of the End Child Poverty campaign said:
"The child poverty map reveals the depth and breadth of child poverty across the country showing the gross levels of inequality that children face in every region. Far too many children whose parents are struggling to make a living are having to go hungry and miss out on the essentials of a decent childhood that all young people should be entitled to.
The huge disparities that exist across the country have become more entrenched and are now an enduring reality as many more children are set to become trapped in long term poverty and disadvantage.
Local authorities are having to deal with reduced budgets but they have critical decisions to make. We’re calling on authorities to prioritise low income families in the decisions they make about local welfare spending, including spending on the new council tax benefit, and on protecting families hit by the bedroom tax. This week we have written to local authority leaders in the local authorities with the most child poverty, asking them what they will do to tackle child poverty in their local area.”
The government must also closely examine its current strategy for reducing poverty and consider what more it could do to ensure millions of children’s lives are not blighted by the corrosive impact that poverty has on their daily existence.’’
In 2011 local voluntary and community groups working with children and young people agreed to the setting up of a unique fund for children and families in Maidstone, to help address the emerging issues being seen as a result of poverty. Voluntary Action Maidstone (now Involve Kent) completed the preparation work and local councillors endorsed the fund at a meeting of the Locality Board in January 2012.
The Help a Maidstone Child fund is held as a restricted fund within Involve Kent (a charity in its own right – Registered Charity No. 1066911) which carries out all the due diligence, reclaims Gift Aid on all eligible donations and looks after all the financial administration.
We are most grateful for the support of many local businesses and organisations. A special thank you goes to Mountwell Engineering, which makes a significant donation each year.