New thinking around the broader determinants of poverty show that poverty is about far more than low income. Poverty alone does not equal disadvantage and certain low income groups describe themselves as coping financially despite living on a low income. Indeed, it seems that social isolation is an equally important factor in determining disadvantage, which shows the enormous value that people place on their social networks and extended family networks.
This is an important learning for us as we develop our thinking around support for early years – do children who are surrounded by family and community have better outcomes than those without these networks? And if so, how do we foster these relationships, and what can we do to better support children growing up without these wider social networks?
By the year 2020 over three million children in the UK will be growing up in poverty. The effects of this will not only be felt by these three million children but potentially by future generations of their families.
With this in mind, the discussion at the recent launch of DEMOS’ Poverty in perspective report stressed the importance of putting children at the forefront of policy. The need to consider lived experience from the perspective of the child is well recognised. We will keep this principle central to our thinking as The Knee High Project begins to identify and shape opportunity areas for design.