Back to full list of articles

Spotlight on Poverty – Ashley’s Birthday Bank


In the lead up to our Isle of Wight Challenge on Saturday 15th July for Ashley’s Birthday Bank, we’re continuing our look at the amazing work that they do. Last week, we looked at the hard work they do to meet the vital needs of domestic abuse victims, but their help also extends to those who are experiencing poverty within Dorset.

The World Health Organization defines poverty as being “associated with the undermining of a range of key human attributes, including health. The poor are exposed to greater personal and environmental health risks, are less well nourished, have less information and are less able to access health care”. According to official figures in 2017, 4 million children in the UK are now classified as poor. More locally, Daily Echo release figures that suggest more than 15,000 children within Dorset live in poverty.

Campbell Robb, the chief executive of the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, said: “These troubling figures are warning signs we could be at the beginning of a sharp rise in poverty, with forecasts suggesting child poverty could rise further by 2021.” Which is why the work that Ashley’s Birthday Bank do for those living in poverty is so important and needs to continue.

Some of the ways in which Ashley’s Birthday Bank are making a difference to those affected by poverty is through their partnerships with schools. Tanya Shenton, the education social worker at Ocean Learning Trust explains how Ashley’s Birthday Bank are helping the more vulnerable and underprivileged families that attend 1 of the 4 schools within their trust.

“There’s become an increasing need to provide for those who are struggling, Ashley’s Birthday Bank provide funding for transportation, give larger household items to families who have nothing… and they do an astounding job of providing extra presents for some of our disadvantaged children here.”

The work Ashley’s Birthday Bank do goes a lot further than just providing gifts for children, there is also a ‘Crisis Service’ that provides food shopping, toys, baby equipment, nappies, clothes, toiletries, household items etc to those families that find themselves going through a financially difficult time. They also work closely with the local refuges and mother and baby units, and they partner with other organisations that provide the support and necessities for those who are experiencing poverty including: Kinson & West Howe Foodbank, Bournemouth Foodbank, Bournemouth Community Church – Life Centre, Citizens Advice Poole, Citizens Advice Bournemouth and Bournemouth Under 18s Housing.Unfortunately the need in this area is massive and they are receiving daily requests for support whether that is a referral from the refuge, social services, police liaison officers, or a school etc.

Ashley’s Birthday Bank are reaching out to some of the most vulnerable members of our community, offering support and hope to those who are going through the most difficult time of their lives. The money we raise in the Isle of Wight Challenge will go directly to enabling this amazing charity to continue making a difference.

For more information on the work that Ashley’s Birthday Bank do, please visit their site here.


Connect with Samantha Ware

More articles by Samantha Ware