MORE than a quarter of children in Bournemouth are living in poverty with the figure rising to a huge 43 per cent in parts of Boscombe.

Figures released today by the End Child Poverty coalition reveal the town has one of the highest rates of child poverty in the south west at 27 per cent.

Statistics for other parts of Dorset reveal the figure is 24 per cent in Purbeck, 23 per cent in Poole and north Dorset, 20 per cent in Christchurch and 19 per cent in east Dorset.

Some of the lowest levels of child poverty are in Broadstone with just 14 per cent and East Southbourne and Tuckton with 16 per cent.

The figures have been calculated by taking the cost of housing in each area into consideration as well as levels of benefits.

The Boscombe West ward has the highest figure at 43 per cent and local councillor Jane Kelly urged people in difficulty to take advantage of all the services available to help them.

She said: “Boscombe has a lower rent than other places in Bournemouth but we do recognise that there are many children living in poverty.

“Our children’s centre does fantastic work with new parents, giving them advice about budgeting and making more nutritious food.”

She said other agencies offering assistance include Faithworks, CAB and the Joy Cafe in Churchill Gardens.

“These organisations help to get people together and they don’t feel like they’re alone. They can share ideas and do the best they can.”

Other areas with high rates of child poverty include East Cliff, Springbourne and Kinson South at 36 per cent, Alderney in Poole at 35 per cent and Grange in Christchurch at 33 per cent.

End Child Poverty has urged all major political parties to outline ambitious child poverty-reduction strategies.

Sam Royston, Director of Policy at The Children’s Society, said: “The Children’s Society is hugely disappointed to see that across the south west around one in four children are trapped in poverty.

“The government must urgently invest more in children’s services and reverse damaging decisions to cut benefit rates to ensure we can disrupt this continuing cycle of disadvantage.

“We need a renewed strategy to end child poverty in order to prevent another generation of young people growing up in a country where poverty harms their wellbeing and undermines their life chances.”

Anna Feuchtwang, chair of the End Child Poverty coalition, said: “Growing up in poverty means growing up trapped. It restricts a child’s chances of doing well at school, of living a healthy and happy life, and of finding well paid work as adults.”

The group has urged the government to restore the link between benefits and inflation and reform Universal Credit.

Judith Ramsden, Director of Children’s Services, BCP Council, said “Every child in Bournemouth, Poole and Christchurch should have a chance for a happy, healthy and successful life, and we are committed to improving the lives of children living here.

“We continue to provide families with the right support, working closely with schools and other partners to deliver a range of services that are having a positive impact.”