Is your bed your sanctuary?  We live in a time where many families are struggling to sleep safely and restfully. The Catholic Children’s Society, Plymouth faces a recurrent theme, of families seeking help for beds. We frequently hear of children who are sleeping on the floor or co-sleeping with siblings or parents/carers. A lack of restful sleep impacts on families in so many ways. The children are tired and less likely to be able to concentrate and achieve at school. Some of these children are also young carers. This can take many of us by surprise, but it is a stark reality of life for some, in our diocese.

So many of the families, of faith or no faith, who apply to our Essential Grants programme, face multiple life challenges. This may be disability, the impact of domestic abuse, long term illness, children moving back to parents/carers after a period in care, a dramatic drop in income through the loss of employment or the death of a parent/carer and of course the unprecedented squeeze on living standards.

An average month at the Catholic Children’s Society, sees up to six requests for beds, a staple of life, you might think. Alongside this, applications come flooding in at the same time for, cookers, fridge/freezers, school uniform, washing machines and more. For the most part, the key driver for requests to the Catholic Children’s Society is poverty. Statistics and research tell us with most recent figures that 31% of children in Cornwall live in poverty (Joseph Rowntree Foundation 2024), in Devon one in three children in the poorest parts of Devon are living in poverty (Joseph Rowntree Foundation 2024) and in Dorset 25% of households are classed as being in poverty. (Joseph Rowntree Foundation 2024).

We, the Trustees at CCSP, feel challenged but extremely privileged to help families in a small way, but this is only possible through the generosity of our donors.

Please keep our work in your prayers.

Andrea Rodgers, Acting Chair, CCSP