New figures reveal the shocking levels of child poverty in Derry.
Statistics from the Child Poverty Action Group, one of the key members of the End Child Poverty Campaign (ECP), reveal that in some areas of the city more than 60% of children are currently living in poverty.
The shocking figures further reveal that in six of Derry’s 30 electoral wards more than half of all children live in poverty.
Lynda Wilson, director of Barnardo’s in the north, says people must not forget that behind the statistics and figures “sit the most vulnerable children in society.”
Creggan Central (63%) has the highest level of child poverty of Derry’s electoral wards, followed by Brandywell (61%), and Creggan South (59%)
More than half of all children in Shantallow East (58%), Westland (54%) and Shantallow West (53%) also currently live in poverty.
Across the city 36% - more than one in three - of children live in poverty.
Child poverty is at its lowest in the Ballynashallog and Eglinton wards (both 15%), followed by Banagher (16%) and Hollymount and Newbuildings (both 18%).
The Barnardo’s director says politicians in the north need to do more to address the levels of poverty children are living in.
“The NI Assembly is currently developing a Child Poverty Strategy and Barnardo’s would like to see an increased focus on improving literacy and numeracy standards and schemes to encourage employment as a route out of poverty and programmes of support for families with disabled children to enable parents to access and retain paid employment.”
“The grim reality that many families face is of vicious cycles of debt and impossible choices between heating homes or cooking hot meals for their children.”
Alison Garnham, executive director of the ECP campaign says the onus is on the government to adequately address child poverty.
“The Northern Ireland Assembly and Westminster Government must act urgently to prevent a rise in child poverty. Access to decent jobs for parents in Northern Ireland must be a priority and this means the public and private sector working together and investing for the future,” she says.