Creating Chances for Future Generations

Housing directly affects a child’s health and sense of wellbeing as well as access to wider social and economic opportunities. There are around 4 million UK children currently living in poverty. This is estimated to increase by a further 1m over the next four years. As one of the UK’s largest housing providers, Orbit provides homes for around 16,000 children under the age of 16. Earlier this year we embarked on a journey to find out more about these children, their parents and what life is like for them. We found lone parent and children households were four times more likely to be in rent arrears and we know in the face of turbulent welfare policy and a struggling economy, the situation is unlikely to improve. By the end of the decade more than 2 million of Britain’s poorest families will lose a further £50 a week as a result of welfare reform, rising living costs and inflation. Around 1.7 million of those set to lose over £2,500 a year are families with children. Although two-thirds of these are registered working households, all of these families face further vulnerability, insecurity and uncertainty. We spoke to our young tenants across the country from Coventry to Thanet, about the challenges they face, their hopes and aspirations. We worked with parents to see what support they need, and where we, as a housing provider, could make the biggest difference to their lives. We’ve also spent time during the last 12 months speaking with fellow housing providers, third sector partners, councillors, and frontline staff. What became abundantly clear, is how the simplest of things can make the biggest difference. Hearing from our peers about the challenges facing the hardest hit families brought a consensus that we are all in a position to take small, practical actions which can and will make a big impact. Every family and child should have a happy, healthy start in life. Our report ‘Providing the tools to help families thrive’ uncovers a number of practical actions housing providers can take to tackle child poverty in their communities. From maximising household income to the provision of basic furnishings and helping with the costs of a school day. Orbit’s Community Investment team is well placed to ensure that we deliver these actions and continue to look for ways to work in partnership with others for the benefit of those we house and service.