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How we’re supporting families in poverty in Birmingham 

05 June 2023

Family Action works in Birmingham’s Ladywood and Hodge Hill, the two parliamentary constituencies with the highest child poverty rates in the UK, according to research released this week. Here we take a look at how we’re supporting families in the area.

We support people in the community through administrating the Government’s Household Support Fund, which helps with the cost of essentials, as well as delivering digital accessibility groups, giving small financial grants, running FOOD clubs, and providing help and advice on housing. 

Ladywood and Hodge Hill are communities where poverty is stark, and all the families we work with are experiencing it in some way – whether in relation to food, fuel or housing. Ultimately, families are struggling to just make ends meet and are having to make really difficult choices. As a result of the cost of living crisis, they are having to prioritise providing the very basics such as food or fuel, rather than purchasing things like replacement school uniforms. 

Housing is a particular problem across the whole of Birmingham. In Hodge Hill, families who are moved out of homes, who are evicted, or who can’t pay their bills, are being moved out of the area to other cities. This increases their isolation and can cause problems with their children attending school. In Ladywood, larger families are common, which has means there is a lot of overcrowding. Poor housing conditions are also impacting children’s health, such as asthma being caused by damp and mould. Our services are receiving a lot of referrals about housing issues, so we are working with GPs to provide an early help clinic alongside the GP’s medical clinic, for additional support for families where there are social issues impacting health.  

In addition, we are seeing more families experiencing digital exclusion. For families who haven’t got internet in their home this can impact their children’s education, as it makes it harder to do some of the homework that is set. Where families are required to bid on social housing, without the internet they aren’t able to do that. We are currently responding to need and are planning to have a drop in space where families can come in to use digital equipment. 

In the last 12 months the number of families being referred to us has increased dramatically. As much as we want to respond early and be timely in the support we give, the sheer volume is so great that we can’t always achieve this. We are finding that we are working with families for longer as they are now coming to us with multiple needs and challenges. To help as much as possible, we work really creatively with the community so that we can respond to families’ needs, and we focus on what strengths the community has. We’re collaborating with other partners to help provide services under one roof so that it is easier for families to know where to go to get the help they need.  

If you feel that you need support, anywhere in the country, our FamilyLine service is free. You can call 0808 802 6666, text 07537 404 282 or email [email protected]


Family Action