Chippenham kids in poverty

This Is Wiltshire: Sara Stephens, a parent support advisor Sara Stephens, a parent support advisor

A third of children in parts of Chippenham live in poverty, according to a Government body.

The shocking scale of child deprivation has been revealed by the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

It reports that 34 per cent of children in the northwest of Hill Rise and 30 per cent of those in the east of Queens Crescent live in poverty.

Other parts of the town were also flagged up by the ONS as having high levels of poverty.

Chris Caswill, Wiltshire councillor for Monkton Park, told an area board meeting: “It is a shock to most of us to discover numbers like these in our own town.

“It is inevitably going to get worse. The issue of debt is really challenging. Whatever people think of people on benefits, children are not responsible and the tragedy is getting stuck in a cycle.”

Christians Against Poverty (CAP), a centre giving debt advice in Chippenham, said families were missing out on meals because they cannot afford them. It said people seeking help in North Wiltshire have accumulated £500,000 in debt – and two thirds of these are from Chippenham.

CAP centre manager Islay Roberts, at Sheldon Road Methodist Church, has seen an almost 50 per cent increase in people coming for help in the last six months, the rise being from 24 clients to 35.

Mr Roberts said: “It is alarming to find such an increase in our neighbourhood of child poverty and it is not uncommon for families to be missing out on meals, causing other issues especially health related.”

Mr Roberts said: “I have seen an increase in the number of clients coming forward for help from CAP with budgeting and debt management but also from the other areas of Chippenham noted in the report.

“We are handling in excess of half a million pounds of debt, two thirds of which is in Chippenham.”

He blamed benefit cutbacks and increasing household bills.

More children in the town are becoming eligible for free school meals but parents are shying away from applying because of the stigma, said Chippenham Partnership for Schools, a collaboration of 21 schools.

Among those helping parents with their financial difficulties is parent support advisor Sara Stephens, who advises for Charter, Ivy Lane and King’s Lodge primary schools.

Partnership manager Judy Edwards said: “Parent support advisors have noticed more contact from so-called middle income families who may have lost their jobs in the economic downturn.

“The advisors are trying to convince parents who wouldn’t before have been eligible for free school meals but now are to go for them.”

The partnership expects to work with Greensquare in the near future to try to help parents keep tenancies.

CAP prepares a budget for families to follow until they are debt-free. Advice should also be sought from the Citizens Advice Bureau and the Borough Lands charity.

Comments (8)

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6:57pm Fri 18 Jan 13

dragon22 says...

Hmm, branded clothing, smartphones, cigarettes, alcohol and drugs.....seems like the parents aren't struggling too much!
Hmm, branded clothing, smartphones, cigarettes, alcohol and drugs.....seems like the parents aren't struggling too much! dragon22
  • Score: 0

7:02am Sat 19 Jan 13

notscot says...

dragon22 wrote:
Hmm, branded clothing, smartphones, cigarettes, alcohol and drugs.....seems like the parents aren't struggling too much!
She's talking about the kids who don't get enough to eat. The kids who NEVER go on school trips. Who only seem to have one set of clothes - a badly-fitting school uniform, with almost a PE kit - always something missing. The kids who turn up shivering in the cold weather - they never have the latest in "puffa" jackets.
The kids that most families pretend don't exist. Yes - they're from poor families - no, they don't have access to anything that's branded. Perhaps SOME of the parents have smartphones etc., etc., let's just not pretend that poverty is all about poor budgeting.
[quote][p][bold]dragon22[/bold] wrote: Hmm, branded clothing, smartphones, cigarettes, alcohol and drugs.....seems like the parents aren't struggling too much![/p][/quote]She's talking about the kids who don't get enough to eat. The kids who NEVER go on school trips. Who only seem to have one set of clothes - a badly-fitting school uniform, with almost a PE kit - always something missing. The kids who turn up shivering in the cold weather - they never have the latest in "puffa" jackets. The kids that most families pretend don't exist. Yes - they're from poor families - no, they don't have access to anything that's branded. Perhaps SOME of the parents have smartphones etc., etc., let's just not pretend that poverty is all about poor budgeting. notscot
  • Score: 0

2:41pm Sat 19 Jan 13

dragon22 says...

Not all but a large majority of it is down to debt. Available benefits are enough (just) to live on if you budget properly. I just struggle to see how anybody cant afford to feed or clothe their kids properly unless it is down to poor budgeting or not prioritising.
Not all but a large majority of it is down to debt. Available benefits are enough (just) to live on if you budget properly. I just struggle to see how anybody cant afford to feed or clothe their kids properly unless it is down to poor budgeting or not prioritising. dragon22
  • Score: 0

4:49pm Sat 19 Jan 13

Locksmith says...

dragon22 wrote:
Hmm, branded clothing, smartphones, cigarettes, alcohol and drugs.....seems like the parents aren't struggling too much!
Don't forget the 50inch TV!
[quote][p][bold]dragon22[/bold] wrote: Hmm, branded clothing, smartphones, cigarettes, alcohol and drugs.....seems like the parents aren't struggling too much![/p][/quote]Don't forget the 50inch TV! Locksmith
  • Score: 0

10:33pm Sat 19 Jan 13

What is this world coming too? says...

Locksmith wrote:
dragon22 wrote:
Hmm, branded clothing, smartphones, cigarettes, alcohol and drugs.....seems like the parents aren't struggling too much!
Don't forget the 50inch TV!
Don't forget the full Sky package to go with it.
[quote][p][bold]Locksmith[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]dragon22[/bold] wrote: Hmm, branded clothing, smartphones, cigarettes, alcohol and drugs.....seems like the parents aren't struggling too much![/p][/quote]Don't forget the 50inch TV![/p][/quote]Don't forget the full Sky package to go with it. What is this world coming too?
  • Score: 0

11:15pm Sat 19 Jan 13

chippenette says...

Wonder how many of you would be here with the smart alec answers to everything if you or any of your families happened to fall below the poverty level ! Not everyone who is on that line is there through their own doing and not all are on benefits either . I've worked all my life to bring my children up and can't afford to have branded clothes , smartphones our tv is 15 yrs old to us having bought it 2nd hand , I dont smoke drink or do drugs either thankyou very much.
Wonder how many of you would be here with the smart alec answers to everything if you or any of your families happened to fall below the poverty level ! Not everyone who is on that line is there through their own doing and not all are on benefits either . I've worked all my life to bring my children up and can't afford to have branded clothes , smartphones our tv is 15 yrs old to us having bought it 2nd hand , I dont smoke drink or do drugs either thankyou very much. chippenette
  • Score: 0

11:32am Sun 20 Jan 13

dragon22 says...

@chippenette But I am sure your children are fed and clothed properly. My point is that many of the poorly fed, badly clothed children are missing out not because the money and help isn't available to them but because the parents do not prioritise what they do with the money they have. My children are my life and I would go without everything to ensure they were not missing out on any of the basic requirements in life. Maybe my first comment was a bit of a generalisation but too many low income parents worry more about their next packet of fags as a treat than replacing little Tommys school trousers because "they will do for another term". And it is these parents that unfortunately overshadow those who are genuinely struggling like yourself.
@chippenette But I am sure your children are fed and clothed properly. My point is that many of the poorly fed, badly clothed children are missing out not because the money and help isn't available to them but because the parents do not prioritise what they do with the money they have. My children are my life and I would go without everything to ensure they were not missing out on any of the basic requirements in life. Maybe my first comment was a bit of a generalisation but too many low income parents worry more about their next packet of fags as a treat than replacing little Tommys school trousers because "they will do for another term". And it is these parents that unfortunately overshadow those who are genuinely struggling like yourself. dragon22
  • Score: 0

5:28pm Sun 20 Jan 13

chippenette says...

Yes you are right , we work to a budget bills, food warmth come first always anything left over is saved towards a treat , my children know that they can't have everything and that somethings they will possibly never have . I also believe that they have a better understanding of the value ofnot only money but time spent doing things together than some who appear to have it all handed to them on a plate .
Yes you are right , we work to a budget bills, food warmth come first always anything left over is saved towards a treat , my children know that they can't have everything and that somethings they will possibly never have . I also believe that they have a better understanding of the value ofnot only money but time spent doing things together than some who appear to have it all handed to them on a plate . chippenette
  • Score: 0

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