‘Coun­cils and agen­cies are tack­ling is­sue’

Buckinghamshire Advertiser - - FOCUS -

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.”


Pic­ture File


Coun­cil­lor Mark Shaw

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