Poverty: Project working to help young mums in Swansea's Eastside
A MAP of poverty levels in Wales has thrown the spotlight on deprivation in Swansea.
One constituency in the city and county was ranked sixth out of 40 when it came to children living below the relative low income line.
In Swansea East 28 per cent of children are living in poverty — 5,144 in total — according to the Child Poverty Map of the UK.
Suzanne Baker, who works with many teenage mothers in Eastside, was not shocked by the findings. She said poverty was a real worry.
"I work with young mums mainly in the Bonymaen and Trallwn areas," she said. "It (poverty) is a constant worry and stress on them."
Mrs Baker is the support and development worker with the Eastside Family Support Project.
Each month she sees around 200 people or families. The project is working hard to help these young mums break the cycle of poverty.
One of the ways it helps is to show the youngsters how to manage their money and apply for social loans from departments such as housing instead of falling back on payday lenders.
Mrs Baker added: "Lots of the girls need to top up their benefits.
"They see themselves as being in poverty but probably not in the same way as we do because it is what they are used to. They have always struggled through life and they don't think they can change their current situation."
As well as helping these mums with financial problems, they also help them with parenting too.
Mrs Baker said often the girls they saw did not have strong role models to help them through and parenting skills had not been passed down.
"We do sessions with them, for example, showing them how to mange difficult behaviour," she added.
"We also want to give them work experience. At the moment we are going into schools to talk to youngsters about being a young mum.
"Not only does it help the youngsters in the schools, but it gives the young mums work experience.
"We've been to Cefn Hengoed already and we're going to go to Birchgrove and Gower College.
"We are also trying to equip the girls with skills so they are ready for the workplace. We want to educate them to get them out of the poverty cycle.
"And we've got some bright girls, we don't want them to feel like they can only ever work in a unskilled job. Sometimes they lack motivation to achieve, but we want to help them out of that
"We have been working closely with Swansea Young Families and with health visitors to help these parents. Partnership working is very important."