ALMOST 17,500 children in Worcestershire are living in poverty.
Parts of Worcester and Wyre Forest are among the most deprived areas in the county – the two constituencies alone are home to nearly 7,300 children living in impoverished conditions – and one mother of two young boys has spoken of the difficulties of raising a family on a low income.
In Worcester 3,600 children are living in poverty and 1,489 of those are in the wards of Warndon, Gorse Hill and Rainbow Hill, according to figures in a new report from the Campaign to End Child Poverty.
Children are classed as in poverty if their household’s income is below about £15,000 as families struggle to meet basic needs such as food, heating, transport, clothing, school equipment and trips.
In Worcestershire as a whole, 15 per cent of children (almost one in six), are living in child poverty.
The city’s MP Robin Walker said he believes a good education is the way to get children out of poverty while one community leader has spoken of the need for a range of agencies to work together to tackle deprivation.
Becca Muir is a mother to Taylor-James, aged 19 months, and Dillon, aged five months, and lives with her husband James on an income currently below £10,000.
“It’s hard work and we do struggle but some weeks are better than others,” said the 24-year-old of Charford, Bromsgrove, where child poverty is highest in the town.
“We do scrimp and we have to beg and borrow off our family but they have got their own households to run as well At the moment the children don’t get what they deserve.
“People bought them clothes for Christmas because that’s what we were having to ask for.
"Everyone’s trying to help as much as they can but it’s hard.”
Mr Walker, a Conservative backbencher, said the pupil premium, which provides school funding for children from deprived backgrounds, is one way the Government is trying to help families.
He said that child poverty is generally highest where long-term unemployment is most prevalent, so he wants to try to get people back into work.
“I think the most important thing we can do to help everybody is to ensure there is a strong economic recovery,” he said.
Francesca Davies, neighbourhood co-ordinator at Worcester Community Trust which runs the city’s community centres and works with deprived families and children, said: “As one organisation cannot solve all the problems alone we are taking a mutli-agency approach to breaking the cycle of deprivation in areas of need.
“We are working with a range of agencies including local children’s centres, schools, housing and public health to tackle child poverty and wider challenges of deprivation by developing projects to tackle the root causes of poverty and financial inclusion.”