MORE families in Inverclyde are set to plunge into poverty for the first time as a result of Covid-19 according to both local authority and health chiefs.

Inverclyde Council's chief executive Aubrey Fawcett, along with health board boss Jane Grant, are planning for the worst according to a damning new report on child hardship within Inverclyde.

It comes as a charity fighting child poverty in Inverclyde says the need for ground level support is escalating.

Children in Poverty Inverclyde founder Pat Burke fears youngsters will end up suffering the most this year because of the pandemic.

The local charity recently sent families on much-needed breaks for the first time this year - after being forced to abandon Easter and summer holidays due to lockdown.

They have also used £4,000 which would have been spent on taking youngsters to the panto to instead help local families through the festive period.

Pat said: "Children are not the face of this pandemic but they risk being among its biggest victims. They have thankfully been largely spared from the direct health effects of COVID-19 but the contagion is having a profound effect on their wellbeing.

"We are receiving a much higher volume of requests locally than ever before for provision of toys and food."

In a new report on child poverty, Inverclyde Council and Greater Glasgow and Clyde Health Board have set out the measures they are taking to address poverty and health inequality.

Introducing the new Child Poverty Action report both chief executives' said: "The Covid-19 pandemic has created an increase in anxiety and insecurity for those facing economic, health and social inequalities; already vulnerable to life choices.

"It is likely that many more families in Inverclyde will be at risk of falling into poverty for the first time due to the consequences COVID-19. Inverclyde."

The charity was set up eight years ago to help send local families on holiday but in that time they have reached out in other ways as families face increasing hardship over the last decade.

Pat works closely with frontline staff to give support to those in the greatest need, as well as organising panto trips, like a previous one to the Beacon pictured here, Christmas toy appeals and other activities.

He has also linked up with Craigmarloch School to help children with additional support needs who may not be able to get on holiday for a number of reasons.

Children in Poverty Inverclyde work in partnership with the school to provide opportunities for youngsters with additional support needs who otherwise would not get away.