The parents and carers of Changing Realities + Child Poverty Action Group present
Children embody hope for the future.
Some are held back, denied opportunities.
But we all want the best for our children.
We want to change children’s realities.
Hope starts here.
Zine image by Brian
zine artwork by Brian
Children embody hope for the future


"I hope that my children will be able to have endless possibilities of what and who they want to become in the future when they grow up. There is a big world waiting out there for them."
Some are held back, denied opportunities

Charley K

"It is not so good for children, to have a sense of poverty."


"What is missing from my children’s lives right now? Pre-Covid, there was laughter, fun times, joy and lots to look forward to. The cost of living crisis has cast a dark shadow over things we enjoyed. We find ourselves in survival mode day in day out. My children miss out on the times we had together, going to the cinemas, having a day out, making memories, going on family holidays. Sadly they often hear me say "no we cant afford that". They are missing out on hearing me say "yes you can have that"."


"It all affects them and impacts on absolutely every aspect of their lives - Their health, their mental health, relationships with family and their social lives. Inadequate provisions of food, heat and general wellbeing will leave an imprint throughout adulthood. It is the children who invariably suffer, they are disadvantaged, they will have fewer opportunities."

Bessie J

"My daughter who has autism, which I didn't know about at the time had a mental health breakdown. The waiting list grew longer for CAMHS. After a year, she was offered an online appointment. My daughter became distressed at the thought of speaking to a stranger online… The pressure is overwhelming for me to keep my daughter from spiraling into a depression when faced with pressure to conform to expectations of the DWP and council. I always have a fear of her having suicidal thoughts again. I understand the whole of the UK have been affected by cuts to services."

Lois U

"My child is autistic but awaiting an assessment. We can’t afford hot dinners at school because we are on a low income but we don’t qualify for free school meals. We rely on UC and a very low wage because my husband and I are both teaching assistants and the pay is awful."

Millie P

"The amount of benefits we receive as a family isn't enough to live comfortably. As a full time carer it's not as simple as returning to work. Anything I earn must be below a certain threshold, otherwise Carer's Allowance payments cease completely. I feel trapped and unable to gain the independence I so desperately need to live a happy and fulfilled life… So often in my life I have felt judged because I am on a low income - I don't want them to feel that same judgement. We live in a council property and they receive free school meals, therefore we are already judged by those around us."
Zine image by Anon
zine artwork by Anon

Victoria S

"My children are old enough to understand how the benefit system works… they see how unfair it is, they see how it stresses me out and they see the limitations. They ask why we get paid so little if the benefit system is meant to prevent people from falling into proverty… my kids see how I, and others in their classrooms' parents, struggle and they talk about it, they share stories and experiences… they want to make change just as much as we do."


"Living on a low income also means that we are unable to afford to buy many of the books and resources needed for the studies, as well as not being able to afford a better broadband package that is reliable and suitable for her needs."

Precious D

"I was put much pressure about seeking work by DWP. I feel that the social security system or the agents of it are not flexible and understand your context: I did not choose to be a single parent and I did not choose to bring up my family on my own. My parents live abroad and so they cannot provide emotional and practical support at close proximity. Single parents carry a lot of invisible burdens. If we are not supported adequately, our mental health is going to be impacted"


"I’m sorry I worked so much, missing so much of your childhood, and I still wasn’t able to pay bills or put good food on the table..."
Read the rest of Ruby's blog ~~~>

Isabella-rose S

"My son never been to holidays. He ask me when his friends mention their plans in holidays. I said I can't afford. I want my son to thrive. I am working full time still nothing left to save or spend."

Gracie E

"I'd love to be able to take my kids swimming at the local pool or to the local farm but as prices increase its simply not an option."

Ana Q

"My children used to participate in our local areas for community activities such as art & crafts, after school club activities, role play, sports activities etc but now a day there were none left due to funding cut."


"In Maslow's hierarchy of needs, a commonly used psychological theory for childhood development, it's clear that children have several key needs to be met before they can progress towards the overall goal of success in life. The first is physical needs: food, warmth, shelter. Things many children in poverty have limited access too."
Read the rest of Crystal's blog ~~~>

Montague A

"There used to be good public transport links but these have reduced drastically over time and often even when a bus is due, you don’t know if it will turn up."

Bessie J

"It's difficult to deny your child these experiences [clubs and trips] due to unaffordability as all other children within the club can go. It causes isolation and loss of self worth and confidence."


"There's no chance of any fun days out at weekends or during school holidays… my son hasn't had new clothes, trainers or the likes of a new coat in nearly a year because we just can't risk spending money on these items."


" last wish as a single parent with two young children is for them to be shielded from what I feel is yet to come. Nothing acted upon now by the government, means that the piecemeal standard of living, which is all these little human being are asking for, like a basic meal, some decent clothes and hopefully a warm bed to sleep in at night, will be a luxury next year."
Read the rest of Faith's blog ~~~>

Sophia V

"I have an 8 year old and a 2 year old child. [The] Council have closed down the local sure start centre, which offered baby weighing, sensory room play groups and midwife appointments. They are currently in planning on closing local libraries around the city which offer homework clubs, computer access, holiday fun activities, toddler groups and so much more. My children's dentist has decided not to offer treatment on the NHS and instead go private. These are all affecting our children's mental, physical, social growth and development… I don't know how to put it into words about the worry and anxiety I have as a parent knowing young children are not getting the best start in life…"

Katie S

"I just want for my children to not have to stress about eating and keeping warm/clean. I just want their to be a fair system where people can access all the help they actually need."


"Usually the education system in Northern Ireland is really good but because one of my children has additional needs I’ve seen a really different side to our educational system. It’s been full of highs and lows trying to get my son the help and support he desperately needs."

Sadie Q

"The most important thing for the future of my children is financial stability and security."

Rudy G

"I am very concern about his future my son is only 7 years old but he is very concern about money, bills. I hope He can access a better opportunities."


"I want change for my children. I want them not to be seeped in poverty and for their mental health not to be affected by poverty. I want them to be happy and financially stable in the future. I want them to thrive emotionally and financially despite their poverty stricken background."

Mollie U

"Hope they don't know what it means to struggle and to experience hunger/skipping meals. I want their future to be bright and filled with hope and joy..."
But we all want the best for our children
Zine image by Shirley
zine artwork by Shirley

Lilly-may U

"Social security and policies should ensure children’s well-being and address their needs. Social policies could also contribute to children’s perceived well-being by giving them a voice in social policy making processes."

Prince H

"The children have voices they should have an opinion and should be heard to see what could we do to make it easier on them."
Read the rest of Prince H's blog ~~~>
We want to change children’s realities in four steps
Zine image by John
zine artwork by John
1 ~~~~~~~~~
We want more support for our children’s mental health. The next government should increase spending on children’s mental health services by £2.5 billion a year to support more young people more quickly.
2 ~~~~~~~~~
We want more done to tackle child poverty. This should start with investing in our social security system. Removing the benefit cap and two-child limit would cost £2.5 billion a year, helping millions of children in poverty.
3 ~~~~~~~~~
We want more support for children at school. Free schools meals for all would remove unnecessary stigma and social exclusion. Introducing universal free school meals across the UK would cost an additional £2.5 billion a year.
4 ~~~~~~~~~
We want better support for parents seeking good work. An investment of £2.5 billion could see funding for training opportunities and to help remove the barriers to work.
Hope starts here.

Dotty G

"when he was 6 he wanted to be a fireman, but then when he was 7, his career choice changed to a policeman and now that he is 8, he currently wants to be a Dr!"


"Often, children's welfare and future depends on the parents' situation; so having more supportive policies including affordable housing, accessible childcare, and support for low-income families would create a better future for children."
Read the rest of Abi's blog ~~~>

Millie P

"A support system is essential to the healthy development of every child, and not all people have a family network they can rely on. We need to ensure child poverty is eradicated in this country to the best of our ability..."
Read the rest of Millie P's blog ~~~>

Chris R

"I want a better future for my children. Certainly nothing worse, but also no continuation of life currently. I wish them a more enjoyable life, more harmony, peace, joy and laughter - a life full of all the good stuff. Why wouldn't we wish the best for our children's futures?"
Read the rest of Chris R's blog ~~~>


"Do you like cake? I do. Especially anything with buttercream - yum! Thanks to the cost of living crisis, cake is now a luxury. Many can’t afford ingredients & high energy prices mean home-made is uneconomical. Shop-bought? Out of the question! So no cake - no crumbs of comfort."
Read the rest of Shirley's blog ~~~>
Faith Angwet's blog

"...all these little human being are asking for, like a basic meal, some decent clothes and hopefully a warm bed to sleep in at night..."

Read the full blog
In the Face of Uncertain Futures


"I think if children are given basic needs, the right nutrition, education and a safe environment they will flourish and will make a better future. As parents, the most worrying thing is financial stability. My older child is nearly 10 years old and they have never been on holidays..."
Read the rest of Tayeba's blog ~~~>
Zine image by Chris R
zine artwork by Chris R


"As a solo parent on a low income, I do feel that my children do miss out on opportunities that other children in their peer group are afforded. My children cannot swim or ride a bicycle..."
Read the rest of Amelie's blog ~~~>
Zine image by LR
zine artwork by LR
Zine image by Mollie U & Daughter
zine artwork by Mollie U & Daughter
Zine image by Tayeba
zine artwork by Tayeba
Zine image by Kim
zine artwork by Kim
Zine image by Jo BM
zine artwork by Jo BM
Changing Realities is a partnership between parents and carers living on a low-income, researchers at the universities of York and Salford, and Child Poverty Action Group

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