Amber's Story Growing up Poor


Amber's Story

Following young people as they tackle the issues associated with poverty. This looks at Amber who is 16 and pregnant. She lives with her mum and the family survives on benefits.


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Transcript


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In the midst of an economic recession, we're all in it together,

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but some are in it deeper than others.

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With one in five young people struggling to find work,

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and many dependent on benefits, Britain's youth is being hit hard.

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Amber.

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In Bradford, 16-year-old Amber is being woken up by her sister.

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Amber!

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Uh.

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-You have to wake up.

-No.

-Yeah!

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Ah!

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Amber's four months pregnant and things are tough.

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The baby's dad is no longer around, and she has no income.

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Since she is living at home, she is dependent on support from her family.

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I'm in here because my bedroom's getting redecorated for ready for when my baby comes, so...

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And I don't have no carpet at the moment, cos we haven't been able to get a carpet,

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so I've got to sleep on t'couch.

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You made a right mess. Can tell you don't make cup of teas.

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I'm sure you can make your own.

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'It's hard, you know, I'm still a teenager.

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'Like, I'm scared inside, so being pregnant's a new beginning.

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'I've got to grow up.'

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Despite being 20 weeks pregnant,

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Amber has started an introductory hair and make-up course.

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But she's also having to get used to being seen as a teenage mum.

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When I go to hospital, I just feel awkward sometimes.

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You know you look dead young compared to all these...women.

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And sometimes you get a few stares as well.

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It still feels like...you've done summat wrong,

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even though you haven't, but you have, it's weird.

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And a lot of them are with their partners as well,

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and I'm just, like, walking, toddling on my own.

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I've got to take in a notepad today, and I don't even have one.

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A year ago, Amber left home after falling out with her mum.

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She also dropped out of college and went to live with her dad.

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But when she got pregnant,

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she had to think what was best for her and her baby.

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My dad didn't have no carpets and didn't really have much food

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and stuff like that. I knew it wouldn't be stable,

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so I chose to come back to my mum.

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Hello! I don't have no bedroom.

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Amber's mum, Mandy, and her partner, Scott, receive benefits.

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But despite Amber moving back home, they get no extra money

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and now the family finances are even more stretched.

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Still, it does mean Mandy can try and keep Amber on the right path.

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Obviously I feel a lot better now she's back.

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She's had to get used to the idea that there's rules

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and regulations again, and getting back into the routine,

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that there's a bedtime and we eat at a certain time.

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Went through a bad part in my life where I went through a lot of...

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I met a lot of boys, did a lot of bad things, you know.

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I've been that so-called slapper what you meet.

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Every now and then she has a little blast-out.

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Especially her hormones and teenage years mixed together.

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Probably part of this is the stress at her age.

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I've had a lucky escape to be pregnant

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because it's made me change the way I were.

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I'm going to try my best to make sure he has the right way of life,

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you know, he might come off track.

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I hope he's not like most of the boys I know.

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I don't mean, like, my close mate boys

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but, like, the more...like, the nasty attitude, the hurting women,

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you know, being a complete arse.

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And if he got someone pregnant

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and he did what my baby's dad done to me, I'd be so ashamed.

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I was 19 when I had Amber.

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Erm, obviously I were a bit more grown-up than her,

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erm, but I still were in a bit of a similar situation,

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where I weren't prepared to have a baby.

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I didn't have the things that I needed.

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Erm, it weren't an ideal...situation either.

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She's got the same kind of thoughts as me.

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It's a few weeks later and Amber's given up on the beauty course.

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He'll push it t'back of the spoon and then he can't reach it!

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It was too difficult whilst being pregnant.

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Her friend Sammy became a mum six months ago

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and like Amber, she's not with the dad so relies on benefits.

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This will be Amber's only option as well,

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so she's made an application for income support.

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Is that nice?

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For both, pregnancy has meant completely rethinking their futures.

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I didn't think you were going to have kids.

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I didn't plan for it to happen, but I wouldn't change it

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cos obviously I was expecting it to be a lot later when I was having children...

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We said if we ever had a baby. I wouldn't get rid of it, cos it's well tight.

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Yeah, I wouldn't have got rid of him.

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There's no way I'd have done that.

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I thought, "I'm not going to be able to cope."

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I didn't know about the money schemes and stuff.

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I thought, "I'm not going to have no money, what am I going to do?"

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Obviously, at the beginning I'm on t'dole, but what am I supposed to do?

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I need to provide for my baby, so I ain't got much of a choice at the moment.

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You know it's going to be way harder if we were on us own.

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Amber's finally heard about her income support claim.

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It's not good.

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-You all right?

-Yeah.

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She's only eligible when 29 weeks pregnant and, mistakenly, she had applied too early.

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Right, so what we have to do is take another look at how we do us shopping.

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We both smoke, so we'll have to both stop smoking.

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It's making the best of a situation now.

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But you're going to eat, you're going to be warm, OK?

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Mm. I just don't want to be one of them mums

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that baby doesn't have nothing.

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Shouldn't have put myself in this position in t'first place,

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but it's happened and at least I'm trying to make it work.

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It's like Amber's following the same path

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and obviously I've tried to do everything possible.

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You were... You are a good mum.

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Come here.

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Everything's going to be fine.

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She will have to wait and reapply.

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Amber's attending her six-month appointment with her midwife.

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Only healthy babies wriggle around that much

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so it's a really, really good sign.

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Are you feeling all right in yourself, yeah?

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-Yeah.

-Yeah?

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How are you doing wi' smoking?

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I went all the day, cos we didn't have no money for no cigs at all,

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so I went all the day without having a cig, until right,

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right late at night, from not having none for all day.

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-Er, you know already...

-Yeah.

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Single biggest preventable cause of babies dying,

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so if we can knock those ciggies on the head.

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Erm, have you had one of these?

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I don't know.

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Cos it's got some information about, you know,

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your claim for child benefit and that kind of stuff,

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cos you're over 29 weeks now, so, you know.

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-Yeah, my first payment should be t'day before my birthday.

-Excellent.

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So, I can finally get him something!

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-SHE EXHALES

-At last.

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Right, sweetheart, I think we're all sorted, and done and dusted.

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Mandy's managed to find £78 from the family's budget

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to do up Amber and the baby's new room.

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So, you'll just have to wait a couple of weeks now, to get your carpet.

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Yup, and then my wardrobe is my next thing.

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It's all on you from now on.

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It's down to you to change and make things better for yourself.

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I've had to grow into an adult, I've had to change a lot of my ways.

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You have to, though, you have to mature.

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You can't just... You can't be a kid looking after a kid, like...

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You can't act like a child and be looking after a child.

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Amber's income support claim has finally been accepted.

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-Just look at the cheaper ones for now.

-Do you like them?

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It's free money, but then we wouldn't be able to live if we didn't have it.

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-£96.

-Thank you.

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Everybody struggles, everybody finds it hard to pay for things,

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and I know some people have it a lot worse off than me.

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If they offer you painkillers, just have them,

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don't be too brave, kid, yeah?

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Go in through these doors.

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-You need to let them know.

-Good timing!

-Thank you.

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You're doing fantastic, you are.

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Oh, my God.

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I got you.

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I can't believe I'm a mum. Doesn't seem real at all.

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(Let's have a look at him.)

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'Well, it's not been easy and I kind of want him to know that as well,

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'because obviously a lot of children copy their mums and dads.'

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He'll make it up to me sometime for putting me through all this pain.

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SHE GIGGLES

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Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd

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Filmed over the summer of 2012, each programme highlights one young person as he or she tackles some of the issues associated with poverty.

Amber is 16 and pregnant. She is not with the baby's dad and lives at home with her mum. The family survives on benefits but gets no extra for Amber and so things are tight. During the course of her pregnancy, Amber must prepare herself and her home for her child and think of their future.


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