Living in Poverty

People are said to be living in poverty if their income and resources are so inadequate as to preclude them from having a standard of living considered acceptable by the society in which they live. Poverty can be defined and measured in various ways. One definition is absolute poverty, however the most commonly used approach for defining poverty in the UK and in Europe is relative poverty. To work out the relative poverty threshhold each household's income, adjusted for family size, is compared to the median income (the median is the 'middle' income: half the population have more than the median and half have less). Those with less than 60 per cent of median income are classified as poor. This is the official poverty threshold or poverty line in the UK. It currently stands at c£26k per household per year. Currently, 30% of Young People in the UK are living below this poverty line.

Proportion of young people in poverty street games streetgames


Today, more young people are living in poverty than any other demographic.  

StreetGames proportion of young people living in poverty demographic breakdown

Where do people in poverty live?

In the UK, many people live in deprived communities with great concentrations of poverty. Typically, these are communities have weak networks both real world and digital and lack the institutions and the power to improve their lot. The vast majority of StreetGames' work takes place in these areas. In England, 85% of the participants on our Doorstep Sport Programme are from the 20% most deprived wards in the country.

distribution of doorstep sports participants in relation to indices of deprivation

The Consequences of Poverty.

Poverty is a vicious circle. It is about more than shortage of money.

Poverty reduces opportunities, including the opportunity to do well at school or work and to get a good job.  Poverty generates multiple disadvantages through unemployment, low income, low attainment, poor housing, inadequate health care and barriers to lifelong learning, culture and of course, chances to participate in sport.

Leisure Spending in Disadvantaged Communities

The phrase 'social exclusion' is used to describe the multiple of poverty engendered social problems that are associated with life in a seriously disadvantaged area – for example, poor health, alcohol and drug abuse, high rates of crime victimisation and perpetration, limited ambitions.  

How StreetGames Fights Poverty

Policy on poverty and decisions taken to combat it are made by many levels of government. With devolution, this is even more complex as responsibilities are now split between central, devolved and local government. The private and voluntary sectors and others also have a role in finding and implementing solutions.

Giving young people growing up in poverty the opportunity to take part in sports. Whilst this might seem straightforward solution to a simple problem, the barriers to participation poverty creates are complex and significant. A household in a disadvantaged area has very little money to spend on leisure activities, so providing free or almost free opportunities to play sport is essential. The lack of transport to facilities, or for younger participants the absence of an adult to take them to a venue prevents many from taking part. Two aspects of Doorstep Sport are commitments to providing opportunities in the right place and for the right price.

Through Sport, our participants gain the skills to keep fit. This readdresses some of the health inequalities people growing up in poverty will experience. Doorstep Sport will inspire young people to form a sporting habit for life.

Improving and maintaining good mental health and wellbeing.  Experiencing poverty is extremely stressful for families and for young people. Depression and acute mental health disorders are more common in disadvantaged areas. Regular exercise, a rich and fulfilling social life and a support network all help to maintain good mental health. StreetGames are pleased to offer Level 1 Introduction to Health Improvement as the first of a number of new health courses within our Training Academy’s portfolio. Accredited by the Royal Society of Public Health (RSPH), this course provides an introduction to health in its broadest sense. Learners are encouraged to explore and reflect on their own health choices in order to develop an understanding of -

  • What is meant by health and wellbeing
  • Their current attitudes to other people’s health choices
  • What social and medical advances have influenced public health over the years
  • What can impact both positively and negatively on health

Opportunities for professional development. StreetGames offers numerous volunteering and training opportunities that make participants better able to compete on the job market.   

Substance misuse is more common in disadvantaged areas. Many of our coaches have training from the RSPH and provide impartial advice to young participants. At our projects young people are brought into contact with strong role models.

Opportunities to travel outside their communities and mix with people from different backgrounds. Young people growing up in poverty will not get holidays or even day trips.

Our projects take place at times when young people are most at risk of committing or becoming the victims of crime. Whilst it’s important that all coaches have an in depth understanding of the communities in which they work and the experiences of young people growing up in them, it is important to provide a safe space and a refuge from the sometimes harsh reality participants will encounter in their lives.


You can make a difference

Sport brings huge benefits to young people’s lives. Even a small donation helps us to make those benefits available to our most disadvantaged communities.

Make a donation

Sign Up To Our Newsletters

Sign up to receive the latest news and updates from StreetGames.

Sign Me Up