One in three Fenside children is classed as poor - according to charity’s figures

One in three children in Fenside is said to be living in poverty. Pictured is the playground Carlton Road
One in three children in Fenside is said to be living in poverty. Pictured is the playground Carlton Road

Child poverty figures for Fenside are among the worst in the county according to recent figures – with more than a third being classed as ‘poor’.

The End Child Poverty campaign’s report details child poverty statistics across the UK, broken down to local authority and ward level.

Fenside has the highest percentage for the area at 34 per cent, while the average for Boston borough is 16 per cent.

However, some have disputed the charity’s figures, saying they do not reflect the reality of life there.

“There are no children living in poverty there,” claimed Coun Elliott Fountain, ward councillor for Fenside.

“Fenside people are proud people who have always provided for their families and reports saying childrenare deprived is not how it is.

“I’ve lived in the area for 34 years and some of the wealthiest people live in Fenside.”

Coun Fountain said he believes the people who are ‘really struggling’ are the working families on low incomes.

“These people are worse off than those classed as deprived by these figures,” he said.

The poverty line is defined as a household income below 60 per cent of the median household income. It is also characterised as ‘material deprivation’ and the ‘inability to afford essentials’.

The figures, taken mid-2012, are measured before housing costs.

Disputing the data, Coun Fountain added: “I don’t think you can class poverty by income - it’s what your expenditure is. If these people from End Child Poverty want to come down to Fenside and show me a poor family, I will give that family £500.”

Across Lincolnshire, there are only five wards with a higher percentage than Fenside, and all fall in East Lindsey. The highest is Ingoldmells at 42 per cent.

All Boston borough wards’ percentages stand as follows: Fenside 34, Central 15, coastal 12, Fishtoft 10, five village 18, Frampton and Holme 15, Kirton 20, Old Leake and Wrangle 18, Pilgrim 22, Skirbeck 17, Staniland South 21, Staniland North 8, Swineshead and Holland Fen 16, Witham 14 and Wyberton 11. The three Boston wards with the lowest numbers, at below five percent, are Boston North, Boston South and Boston West.

In South Holland, Donington, Quadring and Gosberton 13, while East Lindsey villages scored Sibsey 9, Coningsby and Tattershall 13, Frithville 12, Stickney 19, Friskney and Wainfleet 30.

Boston has a total of 2,195 children classed as ‘poor’, according to the report.

But it’s not all bad for Boston. The borough’s average of 16 per cent compares favourably to East Lindsey, at 19 per cent, and Lincoln at 22.

South Holland comes in at 13 per cent.

The overall figure for Boston is also down by two per cent from those released in January 2012.

Much work is also being done at Fenside Community Centre with free courses to help people from that area gain employment.

Caroline Wallis, who runs such a project there said: “The figures released by the Campaign to End Child Poverty are sad but not unexpected. It’s an extremely difficult time to find work, especially if there are children in the family that need to be cared for.

Caroline runs a project called Fenside Grow and Community Blooms which provides a way for unemployed residents to gain practical gardening experience through volunteering. They are given the opportunity to learn new skills and offered careers advice.

Lincolnshire County Council’s Children’s Servicessays it is taking steps to tackle child poverty in the Boston area, working with a number of agencies to ‘remove barriers to well-paid employment’, and to reduce the impact of low income. The council is also working on a Child Poverty Action Plan and has ‘already ensured sufficient, affordable childcare places are available, money management support is in place for parents in children’s centres and we are providing further support in schools’.

What do you think to the report’s figures? Do you think they give a true reflection of child poverty in Boston?

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