Why do we do it?

Mark Beaumont visits Yorkhill
Mark Beaumont drops in to Yorkhill Sick Kids Hospital.STV

The statistics are frightening.

One in five children are living in poverty in Scotland. That works out at 220,000 children and young people living below the breadline in cities, towns and villages across all of the country's 32 local authorities.

Poverty defined

It is a term that is used but not everyone knows what it actually means.

People are considered as living in poverty if they live in households with less than 60% of average household income.

This means that a lone parent family with two children (aged between 5 and 14) are defined as living in poverty if they are living on less than £256 per week.

A couple with two children (aged between five and 14) are defined as living in poverty if they are living on less than £346 a week which averages out at just over £12 a day.

This is simply not enough when having to cover costs such as food bills, household goods, transport and fuel costs. Other costs such as school trips, family breaks and leisure activities also much be taken into consideration.

Child poverty is not simply a consequence of long term unemployment. Figures from the Department for Work and Pensions' Households Below Average Income Report show that 61% of child poverty occurs in households where at least one adult is working.

A report by Think-Tank Demos indicates the full extent of the hardship experienced in Scotland across seven areas (low income, overcrowding, worklessness, ill health, no educational qualifications, mental health problems and poor neighborhood).

Not getting better

A survey on both parents and children was carried out by Save the Children in June 2012 and showed the extent to which poverty affects families and children.

Six in ten parents in poverty had to cut back on food bills and 29% have bought less fresh fruit and vegetables because it's too expensive.

Eight out of ten parents in poverty have also had to borrow money to pay for essentials such as food and clothes.

While Scotland's child poverty fell by 9.9% in the decade to 2012, compared with 5.7% in England, research indicates that the UK relative child poverty rate will increase by up to 24% by 2020, resulting in an additional 53,000 children in Scotland living in poverty.

Where the STV Children's Appeal has helped

In four years the Appeal has donated to over 297 different projects across Scotland. View our Project Guide on our homepage to see what programmes benefited in 2013-2014.