Story spurs generosity

Bradly England (14) in his new clothes yesterday, watched by his mother, Tracey. Photo by Stephen Jaquiery.
Bradly England (14) in his new clothes yesterday, watched by his mother, Tracey. Photo by Stephen Jaquiery.
Some good news has been delivered to Otago Daily Times readers.

Many people contacted the newspaper with offers of help following a feature story on child poverty last week.

South Dunedin solo mother Tracey England revealed she and son Bradly (14) were left with just $60 a week, after paying rent, power and other fixed costs.

She recently had to sell her car for $550 to buy groceries.

Donations of food, clothing, art supplies and money - including two anonymous $1000 cheques - had arrived over the past week.

''I'm humbled and embarrassed, but it's really, really lovely. It's nice to know there are so many caring people out there,'' Miss England said this week.

Some of the money was used to buy a winter duvet and new clothes for her son.

''Bradly has been smiling his head off for the last week. He's actually got some warm clothes now. He's been proudly walking around in them all week.''

Kylie Foxton-Smith, of Wakari, and her family also received the kindness of strangers.

Her husband has terminal cancer and one of their three children is legally blind.

ODT readers sent a $1000 cheque and two $50 notes in envelopes. Someone also paid most of their overdue power bill.

''It's going to make a big difference to us,'' Mrs Foxton-Smith said.

''It's amazingly kind and it's very humbling. We feel like we've been kicked in the teeth for so long. I'm just over the moon,'' she said.

''We had a feed of takeaways to celebrate, which we don't get to do very often. We also got new scarves and gloves for the kids.''

Dunedin social service organisations also contacted the ODT after the article.

''Poverty is certainly a significant issue in New Zealand,'' Pregnancy Help Dunedin manager Chris Ottley said.

''We applaud the efforts of the Otago Daily Times in its ongoing efforts to highlight this issue.''

Statistics New Zealand and Treasury recently admitted they had understated the number of children in poverty and that up to 40,000 more children lived in poverty than previously thought.

Between 130,000 and 285,000 New Zealand children were now living in poverty, which was up to 25% of New Zealanders under 18, Child Poverty in New Zealand co-author Simon Chapple said.

''How much bigger does that figure have to go before we start taking it seriously?'' he asked.

New Zealand Child and Youth Epidemiology Service director Jean Simpson agreed, saying the level of child poverty was ''an indictment''.

''It simply should not be happening in a rich nation such as New Zealand,'' Dr Simpson said.

nigel.benson@odt.co.nz

Assistance

I would like to let everyone know that if you need thermally lined curtains the Dunedin Curtain Bank provides them free of charge to all who have a community services card or are in extreme circumstances.

We aim to assist with fuel poverty by reducing heating bills through the installation of thermally lined curtains to retain more heat within a home. Good curtains also have the added benefit of providing privacy and assisting improve health.

Please contact us on info@dunedincurtainbank.org.nz if we can help. All help is anonymous and we can assist with measuring your windows and putting the curtains up.

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