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200,000 CHILDREN LIVING IN POVERTY; Report shows youngsters go without food and clothing.

Byline: KATE PROCTOR and KATE DAVIES

AROUND 200,000 children in the North East are living in poverty, according to new statistics. The figures show that children in the region are now existing in severely poverty-stricken conditions, without enough food to eat or clothes to keep warm.

The damning findings show huge increase from 2010, when 73,000 children were living in extreme hardship.

The news comes as the number of breakfast clubs and food banks rise across the region in an attempt to reduce the number of children living on the bread-line.

The report which studied 1,500 children, highlights children's S experiences living in the recession-hit region and the extent to which poverty is blighting young lives.

Many children in the North East are forced to miss regular hot meals, ago without warm coats or new shoes and are suffering enormous emotional strain.

In a report mapping child poverty the charity shows how Newcastle has one of the highest levels with 31% of children living in poverty.

In Gateshead 25% of children live in poverty, 28% in South Tyneside, 21% in North Tyneside, 26% in Sunderland and 22% in Durham.

Graham Whitham, poverty advisor for the UK at Save the Children, said the North East was falling behind the rest of the country when it came to jobs and the economy.

He said: "Areas in the North East have got real problems with children's poverty and people in the area are really suffering in terms of job loses and public spending cuts.

"The reality is that poverty in places like Newcastle is becoming more acute. Hardship is becoming greater and poverty is becoming worse."

One in eight children in the region go without one hot meal a day and parents have said they cut back on their own food to make sure their children have something to eat.

In the last two years food banks in the region fed 279 children whose families are unable to provide for them with ten new centres set up in 2012.

In Gateshead volunteers from churches have set up the Gateshead Foodbank to launch in November.

Secretary of the Beacon Lough Baptist Church Ian Britton is part of the Gateshead Foodbank.

He said: "Our long term hope is that food banks won't be necessary but in the meantime they will give emergency aid to people who need it. People say there is a need but we won't know the demand until we get up and running."

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HELP Ian Britton of Gateshead Foodbank at Beacon Lough Baptist Church
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Publication:Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)
Date:Sep 29, 2012
Words:427
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