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For many children, ‘no crib for a bed’ is more than a line in a carol… it’s a fact of life

In Britain today, almost a million children lack a suitable place to sleep at night, says Andrew Tremlett, the Dean of St Paul’s – which is why I’m supporting ‘The Independent’ in its bid to help provide 500 beds before Christmas

Monday 18 December 2023 18:30 GMT
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<p>Zarach, a Leeds-based charity, is providing beds to children who would otherwise sleep on the floor this Christmas</p>

Zarach, a Leeds-based charity, is providing beds to children who would otherwise sleep on the floor this Christmas

At its heart, the Christmas story is about a child born away from home, with nowhere to lay his head. A shocking recent report from the children’s charity Barnardo’s, entitled “No Crib for a Bed”, spells out the crisis affecting some 849,000 young people in Britain today – some 11 per cent in total – who do not have a satisfactory place to sleep at night.

By throwing a spotlight on “bed poverty” in Britain, Barnardo’s has also highlighted the long-term impact of the multiple pressures being faced by families across the nation: the cost of living crisis; energy poverty and health inequalities, to name but three. Each will have a lasting effect on children growing up.

Without wanting to make a political point out of the Nativity story, the life that Jesus was born into bore the hallmarks of the realities that many young people experience today, both in the land we dare to call “Holy”, as well as much closer to home.

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