Daily roundup: Food banks, school starting age and youth clubs

Laura McCardle
Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Dramatic rise in the number of food parcels handed out; warning that school starting age could be lowered; and how a Banksy artwork is being used to stave off a youth club closure, all in the news today.

A report by the Trussell Trust reveals an increase in the number of emergency food parcels given to hungry children. Picture: iStock
A report by the Trussell Trust reveals an increase in the number of emergency food parcels given to hungry children. Picture: iStock

A major provider of food banks handed out emergency food parcels to 330,000 hungry children last year. The Mirror is among a range of outlets to report the Trussell Trust's findings that it handed out 913,138 food parcels in total last year, compared with 346,992 in 2012.

Children’s commissioner for England Maggie Atkinson has warned that the compulsory school-starting age is in danger of being lowered to two years old. According to The Guardian, a report by Atkinson’s office shows that many parents enrol their children in nurseries at a young age in a bid to win primary school places.

The manager of a struggling youth club in Bristol is using Banksy’s latest official artwork to save the centre from closure. The Independent reports that Dennis Stinchcombe prized the artwork off a wall with a crowbar and plans to sell the piece for thousands of pounds to protect the future of Broad Plain Boys Club.

Children suffering a mental health crisis are being refused access to NHS places of safety, such as a specialist mental hospital, because 35 per cent ban under-16s. According to the BBC, the Care Quality Commission found that 56 out of 161 facilities will not admit children under 16 years old.

Stafford Borough Council has criticised the county council for approving “farcical” youth service cuts. The Staffordshire Newsletter reports that councillors believe the county council’s consultation fell short of expectations and have called a meeting with the authority.

And finally, children are failing to develop the dexterity needed to write because they spend too much time using electronic tablets. According to the Daily Mail, members of the Association of Teachers and Lecturers have warned that addiction to smartphones is also reducing children’s attention spans.

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