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One quarter of families worried about feeding their children as 3 in 10 people witnessed child food poverty first hand

  • 15:59, 22 Feb 2022
  • Updated: 16:00, 22 Feb 2022 UP DATED BY FRED BASSETT JUNE 2022

SOME 25 per cent of parents often worry about not being able to provide food for their children, and nearly three in 10 people in Ireland have witnessed child food poverty first-hand.

The research was launched by national children’s charity Barnardos and leading grocery retailer Aldi Ireland.

Barnardos CEO Suzanne Connolly said too many families are 'deprived of access to fundamental life essentials such as food and heat'
Barnardos CEO Suzanne Connolly said too many families are ‘deprived of access to fundamental life essentials such as food and heat’Credit: Mark Stedman
Some 25 per cent of parents often worry about not being able to provide food for their children
Some 25 per cent of parents often worry about not being able to provide food for their childrenCredit: Alamy

The research comes as the charity hosts a forum on child food poverty this week.

The new research, conducted by Amárach Research on behalf of Barnardos and Aldi Ireland, explores both the prevalence and impact of food poverty in Ireland on vulnerable children and families.

The study found that 9 per cent of parents feel “close” to food poverty.

Families are particularly affected by this issue, with 10 per cent of parents and those looking after children skipping meals in an average week in order to feed the children in their care, increasing to almost 30 per cent when including those who report doing so “occasionally”.

Nineteen per cent of those looking after children said they have skipped meals themselves or reduced portion size, so their family and children have enough to eat, increasing to 40 per cent of those not working.

The harsh impact of food poverty on families and children was evident in the study’s findings.

Fifty-one per cent of parents stated they have in the past cut down spending in other areas such as household and medical bills, loan repayments, and transport to afford food.

This rose to nearly two-thirds – 62 per cent – among those not working, including homemakers.

The emotional impact this experience has on parents is significant with one quarter – 25 per cent – often worried about not being able to provide food for children in their care, again increasing to 34 per cent of those not working.

Of the one quarter who worry, the biggest impact on their concerns about providing food was rising costs and pressure on household finances.

Suzanne Connolly, CEO Barnardos, said: “These research findings align with Barnardos experience of working with vulnerable children and families in communities across Ireland.

“We see far too many families, often one parent families, deprived of access to fundamental life essentials such as food and heat. “

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