In 2018 end child poverty found that 39% of children in Westminster were living in poverty, this is the 5th highest rate out of all UK local authorities.
London’s poverty profile found in 2014 that using the HMRC measure, the Westminster ward of Church Street had the highest level of child poverty in London.
100% of the families we support live in poverty, and we work hard to make sure that they are able to make the most of the wealth of opportunities available in Westminster. Our family befrienders work closely with families to try and reduce the impact of poverty. Our weekly parent support groups and community based activities, as well as our one-off activities offer opportunities that would not be available for these families otherwise.
Westminster has a chronic housing problem. Due to the severe shortage of available homes Westminster City Council cannot offer a home to most applicants. The council report that waiting times for social housing are an average of 10 years for a two bedroom house, rising up to 25 years for a four bedroom house.
We work with families living in difficult housing situations, like overcrowded housing and aim to try to reduce the impact this has on their lives. We also work with external organisations to gain funding for new essential furniture, like mattresses, to reduce the impact of poor housing on the lives of the families we support.
Isolation can lead to serious mental health issues and cause a breakdown in relationships between family members. In the case of children, isolation can create a lack of opportunities for self-improvement and reduce aspirations.
Our family befrienders work through issues of isolation with the families we support, encouraging them to make use of our other services like community-based activities and parent support groups.
Shrinking statutory services
Our work is needed more than ever in Westminster, with cuts impacting upon social services, youth work and the voluntary sector.
Families that in the past could rely on a number of different services now find themselves relying solely on WBAF.
Each year we receive referrals of individuals with increasingly complex needs; individuals who no longer meet the requirement for support from statutory agencies.