A third of children in New Addington and Fieldway 'living in poverty'
More than a third of children are living in poverty in some areas of Croydon, shock figures have revealed.
There are thousands of deprived young people in the worst affected parts of the borough, comprising 37 per cent of children in Fieldway and 33 per cent in New Addington.
The figures from campaign End Child Poverty sparked calls from community leaders for action to help families as well as warnings that welfare cuts could deepen problems.
A fifth of under-16s across the whole of Croydon are in poverty - which the campaign defines as living in households earning less £15,900.
It means 18,107 of the borough's youngsters are living below the poverty line, according to the organisation.
Some 1,461 of those live in Fieldway, with 1,031 in New Addington.
Selhurst and Broad Green are the next most deprived with 30 per cent and 29 per cent child poverty respectively, according to data published last week.
New Addington Baptist Church's community family project has taken on an extra full-time volunteer to cope with increased demand for advice from troubled families.
Vic Overton, project manager, said: "This era of economic crisis is hitting families everywhere but particularly here in New Addington. More families are coming to see us an talk to through their issues."
The church is one of several in New Addington to have pledged support for Salvation Army plans to open a food bank.
Councillor Tony Pearson said the area needed new businesses to generate jobs.
He said: "We some of the highest levels of unemployment in New Addington and that obviously has an impact.
"I would like to see a lot more businesses in the area, a new supermarket and job creation, which would have major impact on New Addington as a whole."
Fieldway councillor Simon Hall, whose ward has an unusually young demographic with almost half of residents under 25, warned child poverty could worsen.
He said: " The changes the Government is making to council tax benefit, for example, is going to drive more working families with low-paid jobs into poverty. Resources for preventative work and family support are being cut in Fieldway and New Addington.
"There is incredible community spirit here but people can only do so much when there is such a high proportion of people under pressure.
"This is massively affecting the life chances of young people in this community."