Partnership works to help those in greatest need

Cllr Alan Hills
Cllr Alan Hills

The area of the Daventry district with the highest levels of child poverty is Hill Ward.

The ward covers part of Daventry, stretching from Lang Farm, across the Coutry Park, and taking in the Southbrook estate.

Alan Hills is one of the district councillors for Hill. He said: “Since I’ve been a councillor, Hill Ward and in particular the Southbrook has always been classed by the county council as an area for regeneration and renewal.

“My portfolio includes championing young people and I’m passionate about that. What we try and do from the district council’s point of view is tackle the various problems and help as much as we can.

“While the district as a whole has low unemployment, the Southbrook has one of the highest levels of unemployment in the district. Helping people find work is one of the most important things we can do.

“We have a local strategic partnership, that brings together the housing associations, Everyone Active, councillors and more. As part of that partnership there is a committee looking at welfare reform – policies are being changed and that group is looking to see what impact they might have on people here so we can work to help them through that.

“Also involved are Action For Children, the library, and others who can help those who get into serious debt by giving them advice and helping them budget. The Food Bank is also a valuable part.”

A problem Cllr Hills identified was budgeting skills – sometimes people may find it hard to work out how much money they have spare to spend, if any, or they may be spending more than necessary on items like energy, clothes or food. Changes to the frequency of benefit payments, designed to encourage people to learn budgeting, may mean even more people need help with this skill.

Cllr Hills said: “I think some of the families and young people do need help with budgeting and managing their money.

“Changes to the way benefits are paid means people and families will have to take more responsibility for budgeting going forward.

“We also have the Community Hub on the Southbrook as well where young families or anyone locally can go to get advice on benefits, budgeting and all sorts.”