We are beginning to get some green shoots of recovery in our economy but they've yet to be seen in some of our most deprived communities who are struggling to cope with high unemployment, low paid jobs and rising living costs. Families, pensioners, carers and others are all struggling to make ends meet, and it is shameful that one out of every six children in the UK is currently living in poverty.
I experienced first-hand the impact of poverty during my own childhood when my father was made bankrupt and the bailiffs came calling, and I wouldn't wish that situation on any child. At the moment, we are in danger of creating a generation of children living in a vicious circle of hardship and disadvantage, growing up in communities reeling from the double hit of the recession and public sector cuts.
It is so easy to feel helpless in the face of an issue like this, but some amazing people within those communities are doing something about it themselves, giving their time, money and energy to make a difference to other people's lives.
This is something all of us can do. I'm proud of the fact the UK is one of the most generous nations on earth when it comes to supporting good causes, and now more than ever some of our struggling communities need that generosity. We all have causes we are passionate about - for me it is carers and the incredible job they do, unpaid, to support some of the most vulnerable people in our country.
As vice president of Carer's Trust, a charity I've supported since 1996, I am pledging to give more at a time when need has never been higher, and I'm urging everyone else to do the same. Taking place this week is the Give More Challenge, which is asking each of us to give time, money or energy to the causes we are passionate about, from helping lift children out of poverty to conserving our environment.
The Give More Challenge runs from 16 -22 September and its aim is to encourage everyone across the UK to make a pledge to give more support to the communities, charities or good causes they care about, and help spread the word to others. For every pledge made, a pin will appear on the Give More Challenge map of giving at www.givemorechallenge.org.
A Give More Challenge quiz is being launched alongside the map, to test how much we know about the issues facing our communities. It takes minutes and lifts the lid on some fascinating, shocking facts about what's really happening near you.
So, be inspired by the people in communities across the UK who are fighting back and trying to make a difference, and join thousands of others pledging to do the same for the causes they care about.
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