Jonathan Brady/PA Wire
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Britons skipping birthdays over lack of money, Christian charity finds

Thu 14 Sep 2017
By Press Association

The Church of England's social action charity has revealed that one in nine British adults missed out on celebrating a birthday or other special occasion last year because of a lack of money.

The Church Urban Fund said more must be done to help hard-pressed Britons as figures from its food survey suggest almost a million adults used a food bank last year.

The charity's executive director Paul Hackwood said the results paint a "deeply troubling picture of food insecurity throughout Britain".

He described the effects of such poverty as wide-reaching, adding: "Those affected don't just go hungry or poorly nourished - they suffer isolation, are excluded from participating in social activities and experience considerable anxiety."

One in 50 adults - totalling almost a million people - said they had used a food bank, while one in 25 said they went without meals so their children or others in their homes could eat, the online survey showed.

Fears about being able to afford enough food for themselves or their families had caused anxiety for one in eight people, the charity said.

The results showed younger adults were more worried about finances and more likely to have gone without meals than those aged 65 or older.

Mr Hackwood said churches cannot address the "urgent" issue alone.

"Church Urban Fund is working hard alongside other charities, churches, faith groups and community organisations to support those affected by food poverty, isolation and financial difficulties. But we cannot solve this problem alone," he said.

"We are calling on all those with the power to make a difference to play an active role in resolving this urgent issue."

The Rt Rev Tim Thornton, a trustee of the Feeding Britain charity, said the survey had confirmed churches which have helped people who are struggling are "responding to a widespread and pressing need and that food poverty extends far beyond food bank use alone".

He added: "Urgent and concerted action is needed across government, the private sector, civil society and statutory agencies, in order to tackle this problem."

ComRes interviewed 2,048 adults in Great Britain online in January this year.

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