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Poverty, Friends and Out of School Activities

Young people described how some families might not be able to afford the costs associated with going to clubs and sports:

“Because if you have three kids… or two and it’s £3.50 – sometimes £2.50 – and some of the activities are on twice a week – [sometimes] three times a week – and it’s £3 for each.”

“Just because your parents aren’t earning as much as they can’t, like, let you do all the things that other children do.”

“Because they do cost money. And if people don’t have a lot of money, it’s really hard because they’ll… need to buy it for clothes and like food and that. So, like, you can’t just go spending it on free-time stuff. You’ll have to think about the stuff that matters.”

Young people thought that doing activities outside of school could help them develop new skills, could contribute new ideas about future educational and employment options and contribute to their wellbeing:

“It might help, like, since we went to dancing, it might make you want to have a different career from what you did in school – like, you might want to be a dance teacher. Or with anything else, it might give you different ideas about what you would like to do.”

“Well going to drama, that helps you to build up your confidence and it’s helped me at school feel better about my work and feel better about doing some different subjects.”

“Just like practical skills… like being good at something or talented at something. And also that will make you feel better about yourself because, like, you’re good at something and it can teach you discipline and stuff.”

Friends were mentioned by young people as an essential part of their social lives and out-of-school activities. However, not having enough money to participate in activities and hobbies could meant that young people felt left out of activities in which their friends were participating:

“It might affect their social life. Like, talking to friends because maybe their friends are going to a club and they want to go but can’t.”

Being bullied and picked on by peers was mentioned by several groups as one challenge that young people whose families had less money experience:

“Poverty would, like, affect your school as well, like. Because if [you] are poor, you might be bullied… and it’d affect your learning because you don’t want to go to school and that because you’re getting bullied and stuff.”

Participants pointed out that there could be qualitative differences in young people’s experience if they had less money:

“The more money you have, the better the childhood you have, in my opinion. Because I’ve got mates that are minted and they’re just loving life. And then you see people like me, who don’t have a lot of money, while they’re walking about with new shoes and everything and I’m still wearing from 2003.”

Young people in some groups described the areas where they lived as being affected by poverty. They talked about the potential impact on aspiration:

“If you were good, like, smart, you’ll get all the, like, qualifications that you need and then you can go away and get your own job and that.”