Spiral Notebook: No excuse for poverty of ambition
By Giles Broadbent
In a borough where 72 per cent of residents are "deprived" and where 57 per cent of children live in poverty, it is little wonder that the Tower Hamlets Foodbank is in great demand.
(The average Tower Hamlets salary is £11,400 and, in Canary Wharf, £95,000 so it's also not surprising that Wharfers have stepped into help fill shelves, bags and bellies this season.)
Yet all is not remorseless despair. The key to loosening the grip of poverty is education. And on that score, Tower Hamlets children are perhaps luckier than most in similar circumstances.
While fads - and regimes - have come and gone, the improvement has been relentless.
As an example I single out St Paul's Way Trust School, pictured, if only because its space age looks - and facilities - are in such stark contrast to its urban surroundings.
Its story seems to encapsulate the journey from bottom of the heap to top of the class.
When the social entrepreneur Lord Mawson began to work his magic on the area he saw the school not as a steely sanctuary, protecting children from a tough world outside, but as a beacon, presenting a vision for every aspect of the community.
If a school can be like this, why not a street, or a community?
Hope coupled with will fuelled by tenacity is an unstoppable and infectious force.
A good message with which to end the year.
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