Applications to council crisis funds for help with beds for children have more than quadrupled in half a decade, a children’s charity has revealed.
Barnado’s also found that while applications have increased dramatically, the success rate of requests for support had fallen as councils struggled to keep up with demand.
A freedom of information request to 151 councils in England by the charity found that on average local authorities received 180 crisis requests for help with children’s beds and bedding in 2018-19. By 2022-23 this had risen to 450 requests.
The FOI responses also revealed that in 2018/2019 there were 4,316 requests for beds and bedding for children – of which 2,294 were successful (53%).?However, by 2022/23 this had risen to 17,534 applications, of which 7,227 were successful (41%).?
The charity estimates that at least 10,000 children and families who asked for help providing beds and bedding for their children were turned down.
Barnardo’s chief executive, Lynn Perry MBE, said: ‘Our figures show the increasing pressure being put on local councils to provide crisis support – with applications for beds or bedding for children quadrupling in just a few years.
‘And yet, even with the Household Support Fund in place, councils are struggling to keep up with demand. That fund is due to end in two months’ time – if it does, it will leave a huge hole in the ability of councils to provide help – including providing beds or bedding for children who deserve a decent night's sleep. Time is running out.’