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AMERICAN BUDGET.

MARRIED LADIES.

THE GLAMORGAN SOCIETY.

PONTARDAWE TIMBER THEFT.

SWANSEA'S TRADE.

\ SWANSEA GUARDIANS.

SWANSEA'S HUNGRY SCHOOL CHILDREN.

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SWANSEA'S HUNGRY SCHOOL CHILDREN. CONFERENCE DISCCSSES THE PROVISION OF MEALS. THOUSAND ESTIMATED TO BE ILL- FED. IMPROPER FEEDING: "HERRINGS AND OTHER ABOMINATIONS." A conference was held at Swansea o Friday, consisting of representatives of the Guardians, Charity Organisation, Poor Children's Breakfast Fund, Poor Ctiildran s Dinner Fund of the warrant and attendance officers, of Inspector Arnold, N.S.P.C.C., and the headmasters of eleven schools, to- gether with members of a committee-of Hit Local Aduoafcion Authority, to discuss the question of feeding hungry school children in accordance with the Provision of Meals Act, of 1906. There was a representative A summary of reports from the diferent headmasters placed the number of underfed children at 857. Prints of a quarterly report upon the infant schools in the lower division of Swansea by Dr. Rhys Davies were aJso handed round. Taking all the schools to- gether, Dr. Davies said he noticed 83 who were in his opinion much underfed. He also took note of 145 children of low nu- trition. The Chairman stated an estimate had been prepared which showed there were between 850 and 1,000 children attending the provided and non-provided schools. They had invited the representatives of oftiier bodiies, therefore, to confer with them, and help them to prepare a report recommending the Local Education Author- ity whether or no to proceed to administer the Provision of Meals Act. He was sure no one in Swansea ever, believed there were anything iiKia a thousand attending the elementary schools in the state they found them to be. Mr. W. Nichols (hon. sec. of the Breakr fast Fund) gave some particulars of the work of his fund, complying, and said on an average probably five or six hundred ohildrea were given a breakfast every Wed- nesday and Friday morning. He imagined, judging from the five or six hundred who came to the Ragged School, that the mo- portion of those who were ill-fed and ill- clad, would be more than stated by the headmasters, because it often occurred to him that some of the children were not in too great a hurry to leave, and it was a question whether those attended school at all. He imagined the number of ill-fed children to be far greater than the num- bers given. The Chairman said the first practical question they had to consider was whether it was possible for a private charity to lH-'d 1,000 children five mornings a week, if the Poor Children s Breakfast Fund was only able to provide five or six hundred twice a week. Mr. Nichols did not think it was. Replying to the headmusi/er of St. Thomas, who suggested children who were not :11 need would attend the breakfast for the trea.t, he replied that bread and butter would hardly attract such children in the early morning. Mr. W. Tarr moved that they recommend the Education Authority to form a School' Canteen Committee to administer the Avl The figures given were eloquent testimony to the need of the Canteen Committee, t'jr it was deplorable to contemplate so many children having to go to school without ever, the bare necessities of life. Mr. Nichols enquired whether the Educa- tion Authority could spend money on this object beyond the necessary expenses of or- ganisation. The Chairman: Yes, to the extant of a ijrd. rate. We have also the power to compel parents who are able to pay. It is a valu- able power. (Hear, hear.) Mr. W. H. Miles, seoonding Mr. Tarr, said whether the money was recoverable or not the great question was the child mijst not be negelectad. Rev. C. Chaloner Lindsay (secretary of the Charity Organisation Society) informed the meeting this subject had been fully dis- cussed by bis committee, though they had before it little of the information now given to this conference. He felt it was better before running into a. heavy expense to know what the source of the underfeeding was. The headmaster of St. Helen's Schools said the underfeeding was partly attributable to neglect, and partly to poverty, and under- clothing was quite as serious as the under- feeding- The headmaster of St. Thom&a School re- marked that curiously enough the poorest off of the children in his dist.rict were not the children of those in receipt- of parish relief but these of neglectful parents. In one instance the father could easily earn 7s. 6d. a day, but his boy was the poorest look- ing in school. The headmaster of Parochial Schools xlso agreed that the neglect of parents was the worst phase of the question. He also em- phasisd the poor state of some of too chil- dren's clothing. Mr. Nichols supported the resolution ae the best effect of it would be to compel parents to do their duty. He observed chat a woman was the best person to find out the state of a home, and it would not ce a bad idea for the Canteen Committee to have a lady inspector. Rev. Oscar Snelling questioned whether the assumption of this duty by the Canteen Committee would not dry up the sources of private charity. (Hear, hear.) If the com- mittee were appointed, of course the Poor Children's Breakfast Fund would have to disband—which wouldn't be a great cal- amity—but it would stop the source of the charity, a source exceedingly valuable. (Hear, bear.) Dr. Rhys Da.vies did not think the five or six hundred who had the breakfast needed it. Children had no idea how much food they wanted, far hunger was one thing and the need of food another. With regard to his own figures he had put the number of underfed at a proportion of 3. per cent. of those seen in the schools, but he did not rely on those figures, rather preferring to criticise them, for how was he to tell simply by looking ait a child whether its under- stature and paleness were due to under- feeding or illness? The proportion of under- fed children older than infants might be about per cent.—say about five or on hundred—but they really wanted food. But still it was necessary to know the history of the home to know how they were iii- xed. It be they nad dried herrings and so on, instead of milk and porridge. Father" Gwydr agreed with the previous speaker, thinking if they took out the ill- fed who were children of neglectful parents and those who were improperly fed, they would have very few left. He certainly thought a medically trained inspector would be an Improvement on a Canteen Committee. "It is the children we have to deal with said Mrs. H. D. Williams, who supported the resolution, "and we ought to do some- thing at once." The Chairman pointed out that this reso- lution was merely a recommendation to the Education Authority to appoint a com- mittee, and did not commit them to spend one halfpenny from the rates. The com- mittee would simply ,h& a consolidation of the work done by the Poor Children's Break- fast Fund. They would be dependent on voluntary contributions. The great advan- tage would be the power over neglectful par- J ents which they got by adopting the Act. (Applause.) Mr. J. W. Johnston (chairman of Swansea Guardians) was in favour of adopting ch? Act. Mr. Pen) (founder of the Dinner Fund) and Mr. Cadwalladr. also supported. Mr. Nichols said if Dr. Rhys Davies did not rely on his own figures he would i.o £ mind them saying they believed it was an undcr-estimate. Miss Brock was afraid it was another step towards breaking up the homes that used to be England's gloi^. It wis a terrible thing to see. This generation of yo-mg children would grow up used to the idea of being everybody's child, and the next would 00 worse. The Mayor believed that once the resolu- tion was put into foroe Wuntary effort WO:I.k} drop out. They would have to face within a few years the possibility of having to jay for the whole of these breakfasts, but if it

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SWANSEA'S HUNGRY SCHOOL CHILDREN.