Growing Up Poor: Review

January 11, 2013 by  
Filed under Reviews


Growing Up Poor

BBC3, 9 January, 9pm

I was having a chat the other day with someone on Facebook, the cycle of conversation meandered along until we ended up debating the way in which our honourable and esteemed Coalition are attempting to get the UK’s bank balance back on track.

I won’t go into who said what or who turned out to be a slightly sociopathic, borderline Nazi with no understanding of the lives of those dependent on benefits. But whoever it was, I think a look at BBC3’s ‘Growing Up Poor’ might help illuminate the darker patches of their ignorance.

Or they may just laugh it off as liberal propaganda.

The first in a two part documentary about the lives of young Britons, who have grown up on the bread line, focuses on the day-to-day lives of three girls over summer.

There is trouble maker Bridie, teen mom-to-be Amber and struggling Shelby. As you would expect (you know what people are like), they all have very different personalities, hopes and dreams and live in different parts of the country. The one thing they have in common however, is they lead an almost hand to mouth existence, surviving on benefits.

Following the film makers as they capture the three teens different lives, we learn about how tough life can be in the UK at sharp end of modern Britain.

All three girls were on the cusp of changing their lives but were a wee bit trapped by circumstance and their own idiosyncrasies

You may argue that people at all levels of society have to deal with the same problems but that would be disingenuous. The people at the bottom get the full force of the bureaucracy thrown at them, where the middle classes and upwards often get a break or two (me included but that’s a story for another time and place) where a mistake is overlooked and a change in Government policy does not mean the choice between heating and eating.

For example, Bridie’s scrape with the law means she has to delay the joining the Army, when she admits that she even though she doesn’t like it, she needs the discipline to help her grow and mature.

Or Shelby who works full time on a work placement, for the pleasure of receiving her Job Seekers Allowance, is thrown into panic when the Coalition’s decision (now reversed) to stop Housing Benefit for under 25’s is announced

As I have said before, I am not one for human interest documentaries and programmes as I I feel that they obscure objective thinking. However, Growing Up Poor is a well made and thought provoking doc’ that draws attention to how ideas drawn up according to political philosophy and not the actual practicalities of people’s lives can wreak havoc.

Really what would you do, charge more tax so that a person has less disposable income and has to downgrade their lifestyle or cut Government expenditure on our social infrastructure and leave people homeless or destitute?

Dan says:

Lazy rats!

No sympathy.

There parents should have instilled this poor or not!

michelle says:

i’m sorry but this is nothing new.I am now in my 40’s and i can remember sharing a room with my brothers until the age of nine. I thought we we’re rich because we had someone come in to make sure we had breakfast, now they have breakfast clubs at school. Povity has always been there !!!

suze says:

not everyone is a benefit scrounger. I feel for all those who are stuck in this terrible trap, feeling that there is no hope. Its disgusting that there are people out there, especially the youngsters, who want to get on in life like everyone else, but their circumstances create barriers that we can’t appreciate because we have never had to face them. Its easy to put everyone in the same basket and say they are all lazy scroungers but come on – it isnt true and, as a community, we have to help those who are genuinely trying. There must be people out here who can help give some of these kids a bit of a leg up – does no-one care?

Douglas says:

I started watching this thinking oh here we go, the world owes me a favour… I felt heart sorry for Shelby, I hope her father feels dreadful as she is a decent young girl who is trying. Working for nothing, that is a crime. I would help this girl, she is not a benefit dependant beggar. I hope she is doing well now.

Josh says:

Try growing up in a single parent family with no money, no hope and no ambition. When you’re surrounded by failure and filth how do you think that will cultivate a mind?

You’re clearly in the wrong job if you can’t understand the position of these people and why they do what they do. Imagine not having any parents, knowing your mother is a heavy drug addict. I can’t possibly think why the girl in question might drink heavily.

Stupid conservative with blinkers the size of Rochdale and Rotherham covering your ever ignorant face.

Martin Kinsella says:

The problem I had with this is that it tended to dwell on garbage like Bridie and Amber and portray them as the norm for people on benefits. If one was to ask the Beeb to produce a documentary to pander to the Daily Mail readership this would be it. Amber and Bridie got the bulk of the coverage.

Whereas Shelby had far less coverage.

We need a welfare system to look after the vulnerable and protect people when they need it.

Shelby was clearly exploited with her “workfare” scheme. These schemes should pay minimum wage at least.

Dad of two says:

I was brought up in a single parent family from the age of ten and had everything thrown at me in life you could imagine including my mother dying at the age of 16.
I only say the above as to make people aware I don’t judge without being aware myself of how life can throw you a curve ball.
I can’t however condone what I saw I could not be any more angry at the people on the program such as one girl complaining she has no money whilst having loads of empty spirits bottles lying around.
I can’t believe the scum that is around now, whole estates full of jobless scrounging kids who feel the only option to avoid having a job is to have kids like there mates and parents at a young age.
To make it worse I work in the criminal justice system and I deal with teenagers on a regular basis who have no respect for anyone like the young girl on the program.
She will continue to commit crime, end up on smack and get pregnant and exspect the tax payer to foot the bill, I’ve had enough.