Children grow up in poverty in the shadow of Wales’ greatest wealth – Wales Online

Stand on Fitzhamon Embankment looking east across the River Taff and you are looking at close to half a billion pounds of investment.

This area of Cardiff city centre has seen huge levels of investment. The Principality Stadium dominates the view (a cool £121 million in 1999), next to that you have the new tax office (£100m), opposite that there is the BBC building (£100m), alongside the BBC is Cardiff’s long awaited bus station (£89m). Crane your neck down river and in previous years you’d have seen the iconic Brain’s Brewery. Now only a lone chimney remains though plans have just been approved for two high-rise apartment buildings with more than 700 apartments to be approved on the site.

Wales is divided into 1,909 LSOAs (Lower Super Output Areas) which is an area of about 3,000 people or 1,200 households. Of the 1,909 LSOAs in the whole of Wales this part of the Welsh capital is 1st when it comes to employment and income. It is second in terms of health.

Read more: The ten areas of Wales where the most children grow up in poverty

Now tear your eyes away from the huge glass buildings and turn 180 degrees to face in the opposite direction. You are looking at the iconic Cardiff community of south Riverside. Though the council ward of Riverside extends north to include well to do parts of Pontcanna, south Riverside, the real Riverside, is a maze of streets sandwiched between Cowbridge Road East and Ninian Park Road.

By contrast to its neighbours, Riverside is financially poor. Of those 1,909 areas of Wales (of which Riversides is made up of four) it ranks 1,903 for housing, 1,804 for employment, 1,804 for income and 1,852 for health (men in Riverside have the lowest life expectancy of any ward in Cardiff). Of all the children in Riverside, 55% of them live in poverty, the highest proportion in Wales. “What has that stadium done for us?” one Riverside resident told us.

But if you really want to understand a place you need to go below the figures. Just because a child is living in poverty doesn’t mean they are living without love. Just because health and housing are well below the Welsh average doesn’t mean that there isn’t a vibrant community here. To try and go beyond the stats WalesOnline spent a month immersed in the Riverside area. Speaking to residents, businesses, educators, volunteers, law enforcement, community leaders, decision makers and parents to understand what Riverside is. What we found was a place with heart, a place with a soul.

“We feel safe here”

Leave the Fitzhamon Embankment and head into the warren of terraced housing that makes …….