Third of Burnley children ‘below poverty line’

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A SHOCKING study has revealed that nearly a third of all children in Burnley are growing up below the poverty line.

The Prince’s Trust figures showed 29% of young people in the town were raised in families who fell below the Government’s official poverty level – higher than the regional average.

The research found thousands of the poorest youngsters from Burnley and across the North-West believed they had no future, would never get a job and would be forced to live on benefits.

The damning study highlighted a clear aspiration gap between the richest and poorest young people in the UK with one in six from the region feeling “people like them don’t succeed in life”

More than 20% believe they will end up on benefits for at least part of their lives, while 15% think they will end up in a dead-end job.

The study reveals more than one in six young people in the North-West believe few or none of their career goals are achievable. Those growing up in poverty are significantly more likely to feel this way.

According to the report, based on interviews with 2,311 16-to-24-year-olds from across the UK, young people growing up in poverty are significantly less likely to imagine themselves buying a nice house or even finding a job in the future. Almost a third of young people in the region do not have anyone in their family whose career they look up to, while more than one in 10 feel their life has no meaning.

Jackie Tyler, regional director for youth charity The Prince’s Trust, said: “The aspiration gap between the North-West’s richest and poorest young people is creating a youth underclass – who tragically feel they have no future.

“Our research suggests all young people tend to start life with similarly high aspirations. However, those from poorer homes are significantly more likely to lose confidence in their own abilities and ambitions as they approach adulthood.

“We simply cannot ignore this inequality. The Prince’s Trust is helping the region’s most disadvantaged young people build the skills, self-esteem and aspirations they need to free themselves from a life of poverty and unemployment.”

The Prince’s Trust is calling on the public and private sectors to work with charities to help disadvantaged young people break out of poverty and turn their lives around through work or enterprise.

The Trust aims to help 50,000 vulnerable young people this year, giving them the skills and confidence to find a job. More than three in four of young people on Prince’s Trust schemes move into work, education or training. The Prince’s Trust is running a new free scheme for young people in the North-West this summer. The National Citizen Service (NCS) is a course for year 11 school leavers to learn new skills, challenge themselves and make a positive impact in their community during the summer holidays.

For further information about National Citizen Service in your area, visit www.princes-trust.org.uk/ncs or call freephone 0800 842 842.