‘Councils and agencies are tackling issue’
RIDGEWAY is one of the three most deprived wards in Bucks, and child poverty is a problem.
The End Child Poverty report states that the percentage of children in poverty in the area is 35.92 per cent, compared with an average of 8.8 per cent for the whole of Chiltern District.
However, the area’s councillor Mark Shaw, who is also chairman of Pond Park Community Association, believes a new project – Families Plus, which launched in Chesham earlier this month – can make a difference.
The project allows single parents in Chesham to get help with looking for work at a medical centre rather than a Jobcentre.
Bucks County Council has teamed up with several other organisations to set up the initiative, which it believes could be the first of its kind in the UK.
Under the new system, suitable claimants can access a range of services at Chess Medical Centre, in Berkhampstead Road.
Staff from the Department for Work and Pensions will be on the site too, helping job-seekers.
There will also be child protection and family resilience teams, and three NHS organisations providing health visitors, mental health services and children’s speech therapy.
Mr Shaw said: “think the level of poverty in Pond Park has been well recorded over the years. Both the local councils and local agencies are working together trying to make a real difference. Councils and agencies are really tackling the issue but it’s still shocking in this day and age to see figures like this in this area.
“Having this project in Chesham will hopefully start to eradicate the high figures of high poverty. It’s not an end to it but it’s the start of the end.”
Councillor Mark Shaw