Breaking the circle of deprivation

St Paul's Community Primary School and Nursery.

St Paul's Community Primary School and Nursery.

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Spalding councillor Andrew Miller has pledged to support any organisation that helps put an end to deprivation in St Paul’s ward.

Child poverty in St Paul’s, at 21 per cent, is the second highest in South Holland – and only two other Spalding town wards have hit double figures, St Mary’s on 14 per cent and St John’s on 12 per cent.

Coun Miller admits he doesn’t have the answers to the ward’s problems, but believes opportunities offered by schools are a major stepping stone for youngsters keen to improve their lives.

He said: “Schools have a massive part to play. A good teacher is worth their weight in gold, there is no doubt about that, and all of the schools have got good teachers. They would not be in the profession if they didn’t think they could make a difference.

“It’s making parents see, even if they had a rough upbringing themselves, that with a little bit of help their children can succeed.

“Today’s parents are yesterday’s deprived children and it’s breaking that circle.

“Kids have aspirations and dreams and if you can’t make them see that those dreams can come to fruition then you just continue that circle.”

St Paul’s has a high concentration of residents on low incomes and living in social housing.

Coun Miller believes children need more help if they are to make the best of the educational opportunities on offer.

He said: “If they are not getting breakfast in the morning they are not going to be concentrating and if they are not getting the correct uniform because mum and dad can’t afford it they are going to get picked on.”

Coun Miller says: “There’s a lot of people in St Paul’s which society overlooks.

“It’s a section of the population that’s missing opportunities that others take for granted.

“It’s a sad fact that money does buy success to a degree.”

Coun Miller said families on low incomes struggle even more when the cost of living rises and the ward needs interventions now to stop the levels of child poverty rising.

Experts are forecasting that people currently in the poverty trap will be worse off when sweeping changes are made to the benefits system in April – and thousands more will be plunged in to poverty.

Coun Miller said all families should have enough money to live in a modest house with a modest lifestyle, eat three square meals a day and clothe themselves.

“In today’s age, in real terms, that’s not an unrealistic expectation,” he said.