Statistics. In the UK, 3.5million children currently live in poverty. Two-thirds of these children live in families where at least one person works, but the income is not enough to support their needs. This social problem is not being tackled - it is estimated that 4.7million children will be living in poverty by 2020.
More statistics. London-based charity Kids Company, spearheaded by the passionate, colourful voice of authority Camila Batmanghelidjh, supports and empowers young people through innovate schemes and programs that result in: 94% of children with reduced substance misuse, 91% of children being reintegrated into education, and 89% with improved anger management skills. Yet this essential work and strong contribution to bettering society is largely funded by public fundraisers and donations, leading Camila to take the issue to the Prime Minister.
Meanwhile, a collaborative project called Heartsease is working to raise the issue of child poverty in the UK while also empowering individuals to do what they can for small people in need. Heartsease is about blending crafts - specifically, knitting - with the fight for children's rights in the UK. Together with Kids Company, Devon-based knitters Ruth and Belinda are urging people to knit, sew or crochet small hearts or heart bags that will be delivered to Parliament on Valentine's Day next year. It's an ongoing campaign that aims to raise awareness of the issue of child poverty in the UK, and the timing of the project is crucial, as Prime Minister David Cameron has challenged child poverty statistics, claimed that benefit cuts will not impact child poverty figures, and made the slightly bizarre argument that poverty is overstated because it is relative.
It's depressing subject, and one that many of us prefer not to dwell on. If the UK government doesn't take child poverty seriously, what can the average British person do about it?
We can do what people have always done in these matters, and take them into our own hands. Pick up our knitting needles, and send a hand-made statement to the world. Make, do and send. In Belinda's words, this is not just about raising awareness: it is also about showing support for these neglected children, to whom the hearts and heart bags will eventually be delivered, and about knitting people from different backgrounds together, to show that we care. Belinda says, 'Heartsease brings together the elements that make us human; the care, creativity and action that improve all our lives. Little heart bags - made by people like you, with big hearts, to encourage and delight children at Kids Company.'
And to think, the Department for Culture, Media and Sport recently decided that crafts are no longer a creative industry.
To get involved, join the event on Facebook, where you will find simple knitting patterns for heart donations, and the address to send the finished products to. The pen is mightier than the sword, they say, but in this case knitting needles may just be mightier than them both.
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