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Family futures

Family futures: Childhood and poverty in urban neighbourhoods

Anne Power
Helen Willmot
Rosemary Davidson
Copyright Date: 2011
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  • Book Info
    Family futures
    Book Description:

    Family life in areas of concentrated poverty and social problems is undermined by surrounding conditions. This timely book, by acclaimed author Anne Power and her team, is based on a unique longitudinal study of over 200 families interviewed annually over the last decade. It examines the initiatives introduced to help such families and the impacts on them, their future prospects and the implications for policy. Accessibly written and with clear data presentation, the book will have wide appeal to people who work with, live in and care about families, children and low-income areas.

    eISBN: 978-1-84742-971-1
    Subjects: Political Science

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-ii)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. iii-v)
  3. List of tables and figures
    (pp. vi-vii)
  4. Acknowledgements
    (pp. viii-viii)
  5. ONE Introduction
    (pp. 1-16)

    Family futuresis about family life in areas of concentrated poverty and social problems, areas where it is difficult to bring up children and where surrounding conditions make family life more fraught and more limited. Neighbourhoods for families aren’t just the houses they live in and the routes they take to school, the shops they buy from and the facilities they use. They are communities of people and clusters of connecting activities. These places form a web around people’s lives, both anchoring them, and providing the basic services they need – or in disadvantaged neighbourhoods, depriving local families of what...

  6. TWO Family roles in community matters
    (pp. 17-52)

    People have many views on what community itself means and why it is important. Parents identify a sense of community in a friendly atmosphere, a sense of trust and reciprocity, a link to neighbours and to local activity, a helping hand, mutual support and a sense of responsibility. It is these social links that reflect what families think of as ‘community spirit’, a somewhat ephemeral feeling about local social relations. Mothers often use the terms ‘community’ and ‘community spirit’ interchangeably.

    This chapter explores how the parents we talked to feel about their local community, how much they can control or...

  7. THREE Schools in communities
    (pp. 53-86)

    Families talk a lot about schools because they play such a dominant role in family life, and children’s development, enriching the social life of communities, particularly in low-income areas. Schools act as anchors within the community in two main ways: first, they have long-term, stable functions, funding and roles which almost all families accept; second, they attract a constant flow of local parents and children through their doors and ‘anchor’ families over most of their children’s young lives within a consistent, day-by-day network of contacts and activities. This makes them invaluable to parents, providing often under-exploited potential to help. In...

  8. FOUR Young people, space, facilities and activities
    (pp. 87-122)

    Children are naturally energetic, noisy, playful, boisterous and therefore exhausting to adults. If they cannot explore and expand their horizons, their progress into the wider world will be constrained by insufficient ‘free play’, making it more difficult for them to weigh up risks and cope with unknown dangers.¹ Schools in deprived urban neighbourhoods cannot provide the space or resources or time that children need. Therefore, children and young people in confined urban areas need public open spaces where they can play, discover and develop their informal social skills. This chapter examines the families’ experience of the outdoors, parks, play and...

  9. FIVE Preventive policing, community safety and community confidence
    (pp. 123-154)

    Crime is a big worry for parents everywhere. Although the fear of crime far outstrips the level of actual crime, it is understandable, particularly in poorer neighbourhoods where crime and anti-social behaviour are far more common than in more average areas. For parents it is a particularly acute problem, and in the urban areas where the 200 families lived, crime is a dominant reason for parents not wanting to stay in the area or bring up their children there. This chapter sets out the crime problem as seen through parents’ eyes, then explores what interventions made a difference and what...

  10. SIX Family health and neighbourhood conditions
    (pp. 155-186)

    The previous chapters highlighted the connections between crime, anti-social behaviour and poor conditions. We showed how young people’s positive development was hampered by the lack of safe, useable outdoor space to exercise, play and do sport in. Area conditions shape family development, create social pressures and in seriously deprived areas, can damage health.¹ This chapter explores the health of the 200 families, and investigates their experiences of local health services. It examines the links between the families’ health and area conditions, particularly the impact of wider problems on mental health. It explores some of the common health problems affecting families...

  11. SEVEN Families move into work: skills, training and tax credits
    (pp. 187-224)

    Work invariably brought benefits to all family members, particularly when coupled with training opportunities, even when the work itself was relatively low paid and low skilled. It expanded family incomes and broadened horizons; it generated social contact and gave children positive role models. In this chapter we summarise the evidence from the 200 families about their work experience, the evolution of jobs in their families over the course of our visits and the links between parents’ work ambitions and training opportunities. We then explore the parents’ direct accounts of work, studying and training, using parents’ own words to convey their...

  12. EIGHT Housing and regeneration
    (pp. 225-264)

    Housing marks out and shapes disadvantaged areas, creating the physical conditions that help or hinder family futures. It is a dominant issue in the lives of families because it links with so many aspects of local life including neighbours, schools, the local environment and income. When housing conditions are poor, environments deteriorate, people with little choice get trapped and social problems become magnified. So housing underlines the wider problems families face. Housing is far more than a box on the ground that shelters people in their private lives; it is shaped by its owners, its age, its occupants and by...

  13. NINE How the areas are changing
    (pp. 265-290)

    One basic question we asked on our first visit and on each subsequent visit was how families thought the areas were changing, what was getting better and what was worse. In this final chapter we gather the parents’ views on the changes in their neighbourhoods resulting from government efforts, the changes at community level and how changes had affected their families. Parents’ views are not always consistent, and the 200 families express a wide range of opinions, varying not just between North and South, inner and outer areas, but also between different types of families with different individual experiences. In...

  14. Index
    (pp. 291-296)
  15. Back Matter
    (pp. 297-297)