IT has been said that a nation can be judged by how it treats its children and its elderly.

By these criteria the UK is failing with four million children and two million pensioners now living below the breadline. The cause of this increasing poverty is the ever rising cost of basics such as food and housing, while wages have stagnated and the ruthless slashing of benefits have left even families with working parents worse off.

More children are now facing the awful impact of living in poverty, from poorer health to lower educational attainment. This is happening, not in distant cities and towns, but here on our doorstep in North Yorkshire. Nine per cent of children in Pickering, 15 per cent in Thirsk and 21 per cent in Filey now live in poverty.

Local foodbanks report a month on month increase in use and thousands of our children claim free school meals. Teachers and doctors are similarly concerned with children arriving at school undernourished or reporting illnesses associated with poor diet and housing.

The fundamental flaw in this Government’s thinking is that “balancing the books” by its wide-ranging austerity measures, aimed at the poorest and most vulnerable in our society, is preferable to asking those who can well afford it, to pay more in taxes.

If we want to support and maintain our welfare system be it the NHS, schools and care for the elderly, we should be willing as a society to pay for it.

Alan Avery, Thirsk and Malton Constituency Labour Party

Snow business

THE Government advise not to be put off by clearing snow or ice outside your home as people walking on snow or ice have a responsibility to look after themselves.

It also recommends that you should offer to clear your neighbour’s path, especially if they would have difficulty getting in or out of their home, in particular for elderly and disabled neighbours.

Do not believe the myth that you should not clear, responsibly, the snow from the footpath outside your home. This is the reassurance offered by the Department of Transport.

There is nothing more disconcerting to pedestrians than having to walk along a path that has not been cleared, but has had cars continually crossing the path, compacting the snow which then freezes and leaves a stretch of ice.

If you can clear a path or drive from your home, it does not take a lot of extra effort for most people to carefully clear the footpath in front of their home - be a good neighbour to pedestrians and remember the snow code: 1 Don’t be afraid to clear paths in fear someone will get injured.

2 People walking on snow and ice have the responsibility to be careful.

3 Don’t make the pathways more dangerous by putting down hot water to melt the snow - this will cause them to refreeze - use salt or grit.

If you can, clear the snow as soon as reasonably possible.

Margaret Kirby, Pickering

Join dementia fight

I WANT to take the opportunity to thank local Alzheimer’s Society supporters who united against dementia last year by fundraising, campaigning and volunteering.

In 2017 Alzheimer’s Society in Yorkshire and the Humber was the official charity for the Tour de Yorkshire and raised over £100,000 plus awareness of dementia along to route. In addition our community dementia roadshow visited many towns and cities, including Whitby, Bridlington, Leeds and Bradford.

With more than 67,000 people living with dementia in Yorkshire and the Humber, the need to unite in the fight against dementia has never been more pressing. From volunteering with Alzheimer’s Society’s new Side by Side service, joining one of our fundraising events or writing to your local MP there are many ways people can get involved to help beat dementia in 2018.

The best gifts can’t be wrapped - so whether you give an hour, a day or more, please visit to find out how you can unite against dementia.

Judith King, head of region in Yorkshire and North East Lincolnshire, Alzheimer’s Society

Can you help?

I’M the community fundraiser for Marie Curie in Ryedale, and hopefully you’ll all be aware that we have our Great Daffodil Appeal coming up very soon.

The Pickering Street Collection is taking place on Saturday, March 10, and has the potential to raise between £700 to £1,000 in just one day. I’m on the lookout for someone who would be interested in looking after this collection.

After 35 years of looking after the collection in Pickering, Joy Baker, an ex-Marie Curie nurse, is taking a well-earned rest. She started back when we were offering real daffodils for a donation, and she’s done a fabulous job of helping to raise thousands of pounds for our wonderful cause.

The role consists of being there on the day to greet the collectors, handing out all the kit they need to collect, and helping to count and bank the money at the end.

If anyone is interested in hosting this collection, please do get in touch as I’d love to hear from you. Give me a call on 01904 755260 or 07850 918828, or email me at Thanks so much.

Jen Carmichael, community fundraiser for Marie Curie