A STUDENT is helping tackle child poverty by joining the first Children’s Commission on Poverty.

Gulwali Passarlay, an Afghan political refugee who is now studying Philosophy and Politics at Manchester University, is one of just 15 young commissioners leading an investigation into child poverty to find out what can be done to improve quality of life.

Recently he visited the Child Poverty Unit which advises the government on the issue at the Department for Education.

The 19-year-old from Lostock said: “It’s very important to listen to children and young people on the issue of poverty because they are most affected by it.

"By listening to their views, concerns and worries we can influence policies and their contribution can be positive in that sense.

“And hopefully those responsible and able to help will do so because young people have spoken out.”

The former Essa Academy pupil said the proportion of children in poverty has nearly doubled in the last 30 years.

Statistics show some areas of Bolton have among the highest rates in the country.

Some 23.2 per cent of children live in poverty in Bolton, compared to the 21.1 per cent average both in the North West and in England.

In the Farnworth and Halliwell wards figures have been as high as 39 per cent of youngsters being classed as in poverty.

And about one in three children are classed as living in poverty in Breightmet, Great Lever, Crompton, Harper Green, Rumworth and Tonge with the Haulgh wards.

Gulwali said: “I want to bridge the gap between children experiencing poverty and decision makers. I joined the panel because it’s such a matter of urgency and I am passionate about representing the views of those whom are not usually represented.

“We should give children the childhood they need and deserve.”

Referring to the meeting at the DoE, he added: “It was a great opportunity to voice our opinions and the views of young people in poverty to policymakers.

“They are working on strategy for 2014 to 2017 so we wanted to have our say.”