TEST VALLEY families face "depths of a crisis" as almost 3,000 children are living in poverty. 

One in eight children in Test Valley are living in relative poverty, figures show. 

According to the Department for Work and Pension, 2,853 children in Test Valley were living in relative poverty in the year ending April 2022.

Of these children, 1,949 were in absolute poverty as their family's income was lower than 60 per cent of the median income established in 2010-2011. 

It was up from 10.9 per cent of children who were living in poverty in 2020-21 and up from 8.3 per cent seen in 2014-15 when comparable records began.

Save the Children UK said the latest figures prove families are "still very much in the depths of a crisis” as inflation increases.

A Hampshire County Council (HCC) spokesperson said: “The local authority works with a wide range of local partners to provide direct assistance to families facing hardship across the whole of Hampshire, including Test Valley, as well as signposting to wider sources of support."

The spokesperson explained that by using its Household Support Funding, the council funds various organisations such as schools and community groups and pantries. 

Other methods of support include the Holiday Activities and Food programme, funded by the Department for Education, which delivers activities and healthy meals over the Easter, summer and Christmas school holidays for children in receipt of income-based free school meals. 

Finally, HCC's Supporting Families programme provides help to families with multiple and complex support needs to prevent them from escalating into crises.

Early Help is also available via the Family Support Service which provides information, advice and signposting various issues including housing, finance, health, wellbeing and more. 

While HCC is responsible for delivering children's social services, it's the responsibility of all statutory and non-statutory agencies, to consider the welfare and support of children in the borough.

A spokesperson for Test Valley Borough Council (TVBC) said: “Test Valley coordinates and plays a key role in delivering projects to make sure that families and children living in poverty are supported."

TVBC helps support the HCC Household Support Fund from which vulnerable households have received financial help with paying their costs and purchasing essential items like food. 

 “We have also facilitated three sessions with our charities and voluntary sector partners, in order to improve our agency response to the cost of living crisis."