Can you help to ease town’s child poverty?

Pictured is volunteer Ingrid Vasiliou and church leader Major Ian Harris

Pictured is volunteer Ingrid Vasiliou and church leader Major Ian Harris

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DEDICATED charity volunteers have called on the public to do what they can to ease the child poverty in Blackpool.

Ingrid Vasiliou, 64, from Warpole Avenue, South Shore, read about the devastating situation highlighted by The Gazette in areas including the Bloomfield and Claremont wards of the resort and has decided to act.

Blackpool Council revealed that more than 40 per cent of children were living in poverty in the affected areas, with leader Coun Simon Blackburn vowing to make the issue his top priority before it led to a “crisis of unprecedented scale”.

Vulnerable

Mrs Vasiliou has helped the most vulnerable people in Blackpool for 30 years – 10 of those spent at the Salvation Army working with under privileged families.

And she is now aiming to use her spare time to teach young mothers and children how to look after themselves.

She said: “I have always been taking children food and it’s close to my heart.

“I want to help mothers and show them there are other places to shop.

“It would be nice if there was something where you could go and teach volunteers how to provide cheap food for their children.

“Supermarkets could also do a lot more to help because the food they throw away is terrible. We can’t reject the people, we have to help them and not just leave them to get on with it.”

Ian Harris runs a wide range of activities for Blackpool’s Salvation Army branch and is echoing the calls of Mrs Vasiliou for people to come forward.

He said: “It’s vitally important we consider child poverty. I know many people will be surprised there’s still child poverty in this country, but it’s still rife.

“We are very interested in caring for children. Each year we have a toy appeal and last year we gave out over 380 toys to children in the town.”

The Salvation Army also has a number of Divisional Youth offices which are key in providing for children.

Mr Harris added: “We have a stigma surrounding child poverty and we are trying to change people’s perceptions.”

Other volunteers in Bloomfield ward include Julie Moore and Shirley McCartan.

Mrs McCartan runs Ibbison Court Community Centre and has become involved with the police and schools.

Mrs Moore is looking to expand the work she does by offering more free food days to the families that need them the most in her area.