Ipswich/Felixstowe: Volunteers try and improve situation for children living in poverty

RYAN Jay is a volunteer co-ordinator for Club 4 Teenz, a youth group in Gainsborough.

The 18-year-old, who was an Olympic Torch bearer this summer, said the group has been instrumental in providing new opportunities for those from disadvantaged backgrounds.

He said: “I came from a poverty background. My family did not work but I knew that I didn’t have to follow in their footsteps.

“We try to offer young people opportunities that they do not really have. For example in February we took them to the Houses of Parliament – some of them had never been to London before or even on a train.

“We are trying to show them that you do not have to stay in Gainsborough. A lot of them come from families who have never worked before and we want to show them you do not have to follow that way.

“When I started here, I was just a young person at school. I suppose I am a kind of role model.”

“I have been here two years and it has definitely got busier in that time.”

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Meanwhile, Ormiston Children’s Centre in Ipswich works with families with children under the age of five. The charity liaises with a number of partners to provide everything for the family, including benefits checks to ensure they are being paid the right amount, budgeting, helping choose healthy meals, and childcare in some cases to allow parents to work or do courses.

Alison Gillies, service manager at Ormiston Children’s Centre, said: “If a family is in crisis, we can give out food parcels, nappies and so on, and this seems to be on the increase. We support families to access help with learning and skills, and work with partners to help them become more employable.

“We are seeing a slow increase. At the moment I cannot see that things are going to improve hugely.”