Published: 05:53, 17 June 2019
| Updated: 17:14, 17 June 2019
Poverty in one of Canterbury’s most deprived areas is worse than in every London borough, statistics show.
Northgate ward, in the north-west of the city, is the most poverty-stricken area in the Canterbury district - and the eighth worst in the county.
Kent County Council figures show that 34.7% of children in the ward are from low income families.
The 2016 figure - the most recently available - tops all of the 33 boroughs in London and is well above the national average of 17%.
As a result of the alarming figures, the Canterbury Society is set to host a discussion.
The group said: “Canterbury looks to be booming with rich citizens but the reality is that it is a divided city with some of the worst poverty in the country.
“About 40% of children living in Northgate ward live in poverty and one homeless person a month from Canterbury dies on the streets.
“We are organising a meeting to discuss it, and to look for paths towards change.”
Canterbury Society member Prof Richard Scase says the district “is becoming more divided”.
“Children are living in poverty. They live in households where there is constant worry if there is enough money to buy food,” he said.
“Many are single-parent homes with working mums on zero-hour contracts.
“They do not know from one day to the next if they will be called in for work.”
Across the Canterbury district, a total of 4,400 children are living in poverty - making it the fourth worst borough in the county, behind Thanet, Swale and Maidstone.
Last week it was announced more than one in five workers in Kent (132,000) earn below the Real Living Wage. Charities and trade unions have warned of a “rising tide of in-work poverty”, with millions of workers struggling to make ends meet.
The Canterbury Society also highlighted “a special unit at Wincheap School for children who can barely speak at five years of age” as an example of divisions in the district.
But the unit in fact serves the whole of east Kent.
It supports up to 25 children with Education, Health & Care Plans who require specialist support with their speech and language in order to help them “communicate and connect”.
The Canterbury Society meeting on poverty in the city will be held on Wednesday, June 19.
Starting at 7.30pm at the Friends Meeting House in the Friars, the discussion will include talks from Catching Lives manager Terry Gore and Thanington Resource Centre manager Paula Spencer.
The Canterbury Society meeting on poverty in the city will be held next Wednesday. Starting at 7.30pm at the Friends Meeting House in the Friars, the discussion will include talks from Catching Lives manager Terry Gore and Thanington Resource Centre manager Paula Spencer.