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Child poverty in the UK

Supporting children in poverty

Every child in the UK has endless possibilities. We help them see that.

Poverty steals childhood

What does child poverty look like in the UK?

  • 30% of children in the UK live in poverty
  • 33% of children living in poverty fall behind with their education
  • 23% of children living in poverty in England miss expected levels of language development by 5.

How to help child poverty in the UK

We’re one of the leading child poverty charities in the UK, making a difference in children’s lives across the country.

By donating to Save The Children, you help us make a difference across the UK for child poverty and support those who need it most.


Cost of living crisis

No child should pay the price of the cost of living crisis - but 30% of children in the UK live in poverty.

Your support makes a difference. Thanks to amazing people like you, we handed out over 2,300 direct grants to low-income families in 2022 - meaning parents could buy food, warm clothes and beds for their children.


As the cost-of-living crisis hits UK families hard, communities across the country are coming together and local volunteers are doing whatever they can to make a difference. 

Volunteers at Smallshaw-Hurst Children’s Community in Ashton-under-Lyne, for example, have set up The Food Pantry with Save the Children’s support – making sure under-pressure families can get healthy food at a fraction of the supermarket cost. 

In our ‘Made for Good’ series of films, co-created by Warner Bros. Discovery and Save the Children, Alex Webster – of Quest’s ‘The Woodland Workshop’ – visits this incredible community hub, which is delivering support for families when they need it the most. While he’s there Alex uses his fantastic carpentry skills to create some bespoke furniture for the community as a gesture of appreciation for all they do.

To find out the full story, watch the films below.

Cost of living support 

We are working together with Shelter, Turn2Us, 38 Degrees and Little Village to offer people help in finding financial and emotional support throughout the cost of living crisis.

Find out more here

Don't let poverty hold children back

Working with a group of young people in Save the Children's network who have experienced poverty, our new film marks the crucial moments in children’s lives and reveals what could be different if they’re given the support they need.

Together, we’re campaigning to make sure all children - no matter what situation they’re born into - get a fair chance to realise their dreams.

Girl in school uniform in a classroom sitting a desk

How your donations help children living in poverty in the UK

We run a range of a programmes aimed at supporting children living in poverty in the UK. Here's how your donations have helped:
  • In Schools: Children from lower income families are 50% less likely to do as well at school as their classmates. We support tens of thousands of children’s learning with our Families Connect programme
  • In Communities: Our Children’s Communities programme ensures that local agencies create a support chain for our poorest children
  • In Homes: We've helped over 72,000 children learn better at home. Our Building Blocks programme provides low-income families with basic household items, learning resources and information to help children thrive
  • In Nurseries: We’re fighting to support parents who are struggling with the costs of childcare
  • Families Connect: Increasing parents’ skills to support learning for children in poverty in the UK
  • Children's Communities: Preventing gaps that children often fall through, our programme strengthens partnerships between parents, schools, GPs, children’s centres, health visitors, housing managers, family support workers and parent employer advisers 
  • Building BlocksAlmost a third of children in the UK experience poverty before they start school. We provide families with essential household items and early learning packs to reduce immediate financial stress
  • Winter Plan for ChildrenWe’re fighting for families on low incomes during the difficult winter months. Almost 2 in 5 say that they are worse off since the pandemic hit

Help us keep these programmes running


Our UK Child Poverty mission

Lexie playing football in the UK

In EnglandNorthern IrelandScotland and Wales, we work to narrow the gap between children in poverty & better-off classmates.

We're uniting families and schools, ensuring the poorest children get help, building positive home environments and campaigning for children's futures.

Our emergency grant programme has reached thousands of homes, delivering early learning packs, supermarket vouchers and household essentials to the most vulnerable families.

We've campaigned for social security support, called for governmental help for families through a difficult winter and worked with Marcus Rashford's team to help hungry children in lockdown.

WHAT ARE Save the Children DOING to fight UK child poverty?

A timeline graphic of Save the Children's recent work in the UK

How Amelia's beating the circumstances

“Positives out of this whole situation, spending time with my family. Like my daughters, cherishing every moment with them, and making memories." - Vikki

Amelia and her family cherish every moment together. 

“Everything is recorded so that they have something to look back on and think wow, as a family we got through this.” - Vikki, Amelia's mum.

But during the pandemic, things were hard for Amelia and her family. Vikki lost her job, and had to home-school Amelia and her sister Maisie for months.

Thanks to your support, we made it a bit easier.

We helped Vikki get food vouchers and a crafty learning pack, so Maisie and Amelia could be ready to return to school and discover a world of possibilities. 


Read about our work

Our work on the Covid-19 Inquiry
We were a Core Participant in Module 2 of the Covid-19 public inquiry where we  highlighted the impact the UK government choices had on children and families.

Supporting families through Covid:
This report sets out what we have learned from our Emergency Response about families' experiences of the pandemic.

Dropped into a cave:
How families with young children experienced lockdown.

COVID's Kids: 
The pandemic has been a stark reminder of our vulnerability as individuals, as societies and as a species. 

Lighting up Young Brains: How parents, carers and nurseries support children’s brain development in the first five years
Looks at the science behind young children's brain development and its relationship to children's language development. 

Untapped Potential: How England's nursery lottery is failing too many children
This report shows that more than a quarter of a million children were locked out of high-quality childcare provision in 2015, affecting children from families right across society, in better-off as well as poor areas. But our analysis also provides compelling evidence that children in the poorest areas are most likely to miss out on this crucial support in their first years.

A million hands:
We are so excited to be partnering with the Scouts through A Million Hands, the Scouts' community impact programme. It empowers young people in Scouts to make a difference in their communities. 

Margate Early Learning Community:

Established in 2018, the Margate Early Learning Community (ELC) brings together local families, services and organisations to review and work to improve early learning outcomes for children aged 0-5 growing up in Margate.

Ways to Support Save the Children