Westminster is generally recognized as one of the wealthiest Inner London boroughs with the average income of residents being the third highest of any borough in the UK.

Despite this, it is shocking to learn that there are pockets of extreme deprivation and poverty across Westminster. The Department for Communities and Local Government classifies Westminster as “one of the 10% most challenging boroughs in the country”.

14% of Westminster’s estate communities are in severe deprivation with over one third of young residents living in income deprived households. Among this NEET group (not in Education, Employment and Training) a recent community estate survey shows above average issues regarding drug use and dealing; crime; and unemployment.

A significant number of these young people are acutely worried about their futures (23% of those surveyed), with job prospects and skills levels being a key concern, especially with young people feeling increasingly out of control of their future. In terms of futures opportunities available to them, 49% of young people are only ‘slightly aware’ of opportunities in Westminster, whilst many were ‘not at all aware’.

Dover / Folkestone, SE Kent

During Autumn 2021 Positive View Foundation launched its ‘Youth Empowerment Programme’ in Folkestone, Dover, and Hythe – South East Kent.

These coastal towns are within the top 10% of the most deprived towns in England with 49% of young people residents living in income deprived households – 4,380 young people (2020) aged up to 18, are classed as living in poverty across the immediate deprived coastal district.

Amongst this NEET group 73% are estimated not to be in education, employment and training – showing the average issues of those involved as being: drug use and dealing; crime; unemployment; and a vulnerable single-parent home life. Due to Covid there is also a measurable increase in the numbers of these young people suffering from increased mental health issues.

These are the vulnerable 16-25 year-olds, living in South East Kent, that Positive View is supporting through its life changing 10-week ‘Youth Empowerment Programme’ – all project cohorts being referred to Positive View by a variety regional youth organisations dealing with social issues such as crime, mental health, homelessness, addictions etc.

In just a few years, Positive View has established itself fully within the youth sector in Westminster delivering a brilliant creative photography programme in partnership with our key youth clubs. I’ve been really impressed by the quality of the programme working with great professionals and this has impacted 
on the lives of young disadvantaged people on troubled estates.

Phil Barron, CEO Young Westminster Foundation