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Nearly third of children live in poverty in ward
10:00am Saturday 23rd February 2013 in News
NEARLY a third of children in part of Malvern live in poverty but the figure would be far worse without a project to beat deprivation and build community spirit.
Figures show 31 per cent of children in Pickersleigh are living in poverty compared to under five per cent in more affluent parts of Malvern Hills like Martley and Powick.
For example, under five per cent of children live in poverty in Broadheath, Longdon, Martley, Morton, Powick, Wells and Woodbury.
However Malvern Hills district councillor Val Myatt, from the Group of Independent Liberal Democrats and chairman of the Big Pickersleigh Project, said child poverty would be much worse in that ward had it not been for the efforts of councillors, the police, volunteers, the NHS and housing bosses.
Coun Myatt said the £400,000 project, launched in 2010, had resulted in a four-pronged attack on poverty, based around transforming communities, improving ‘liveability’ by reducing crime and anti-social behaviour, empowering local communities to give people a voice and a sense of pride about where they live, and better access to local public services, including health services.
She said: “I think it would have been worse if not for the Big Pickersleigh Project.
“I think this is a start to stop the poverty and get people back into work.
“The anti-social behaviour has improved. What we have got to do is make this sustainable so when the money (for the project) is finished the good work we have done with partners carries on. We’re looking at ways we can do this.
“We can’t waste what we have already done. There is a door out of poverty. Anything that makes Pickersleigh more of a community is good. It’s bringing people together and making people feel proud of their area.”
Examples for improving skills include the vehicle maintenance project Overdrive in Spring Lane and making connections with children at the town’s Sunshine Children’s Centre.
A worklessness group has helped residents develop skills and increase confidence while a door-knocking project has addressed issues like smoking and obesity.
West Worcestershire MP Harriet Baldwin said: “It is vitally important to continue to tackle child poverty and I am pleased to see this report shows continued progress in reducing child poverty over the last two years.”