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The Poverty Trap?

12th January 2012 by OnSide

Can our Youth Zones help children escape the poverty trap?

The latest Government figures on Child Poverty make depressing reading. Apparently we have a target that says the aim by 2020 is to get figures to down to 10% of all children in the UK living in poverty. Which is an odd kind of target when you think about it!

I suppose we all need targets of one kind or another and it does make us happy when we achieve them. There is a great story that Gordon Brown used to love nothing more than increasing one benefit or another and then calculating that as a result he had “lifted” say 10,000 children out of poverty, and go home beaming because he had done a cracking days work. In reality he had done no such thing, giving a family on benefits an extra £15 a week made no real difference to any of their lives, particularly the children.

OnSide’s second Youth Zone is set to open later this month, it is in Harpurhey in North Manchester. The Government’s figures tell us that 49% of children in Central Manchester are being brought up in poverty (the second highest rates in the country). We can’t give all the kids that come through the door a tenner a week and lift them out of poverty .. so what can we do?

We can help all the Children and Young People who come through the doors to start to feel good about themselves, to start believing in themselves, have confidence become active, engaged, and positive about themselves and others. I’m sure that is the start of the long journey away from benefits and poverty. If the young people that we work with remain on benefits then they will always be poor… even if we trebled the rates and we at OnSide and at The Factory Youth Zone will have failed.

We hope that by this time next year over 1500 children and young people will attend The Factory every week and that after a few years we are determined that those young people will be engaged, motivated, confident, happy and ambitious.

Read more about The Factory Youth Zone by visiting its website, click here for more information.