We live in one of UK's poorest areas making just £800 on Universal Credit… but we're surrounded by super-rich neighbours | The Sun

RESIDENTS in one of the UK's poorest area make just £800 on Universal Credit – yet are surrounded by super-rich neighbours.

Roehampton, south west London, has the lowest income per household of any neighbourhood in London.

Located on the border of Richmond Park, households in the suburb earn an average of just £38,900 a year, according to Office for National Statistics data.

But it is bordered by the more affluent areas of Putney, Wimbledon and Barnes.

Holly Willoughby, Gary Lineker and Ronan Keating are all said to live in the Barnes area.

Parts of Putney, meanwhile, have been transformed into a Billionaire's Row in recent years.

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And Simon Cowell is said to have purchased a six-bed home in Wimbledon in recent years, while Ant McPartlin is also believed to live in the suburb.

But residents in neighbouring Roehampton say it is difficult for them to make ends meet.

Steve Penfold, 63, said: "I have been out of work for 18 months and I’m on universal credit at the moment. 

"I get about £819 per month. I live on my own in sheltered accommodation, but have made some great friends here. 

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"It’s good to have them to rely on when I am feeling a bit low. I’ve been on a lot of Government courses to try and get back into employment, but haven’t had any luck yet. 

"By the time I have paid for all my bills – like rent, electric, my phone and food – I don’t have much left. It’s very tight at the end of each month.

"The Roehampton community it really friendly, but there are some areas that I won’t go to now at night because of my age. There can be a few unsavoury people around.”

Chloe Nixon, a 24-year-old a retail worker, lives in Roehampton with her three-year-old son.

She said: “My bills have increased quite a bit over the past few years, especially with food. I think things have always been a bit tough though.

"I enjoy living here, and my soon goes to a good school in the area.  Usually people are very friendly. 

"The local church plays a big part in the community; I know they collect for a local food bank and organise activities for the kids in the area.

"Some people might say there are some parts of Roehampton that are a bit dangerous, but it depends on your outlook. It’s all about what you choose to focus on in the area."

Mr Smith, who did not want to provide a first name, has two children and now works in Roehampton.

He described how there are some people in the area who are struggling with the cost of living and there's no quick fix.

The 37-year-old added: "This is a good community but I see people in this area everyday who are really struggling, and working class people in particular.

“I used to work in construction, but the wages just haven’t increased in a long time. 

"Even though they generally make good money, it still is not enough. Even if you are an electrician, you might only just be earning over the minimum wage.

“There is a high suicide rate in construction and loads of guys would take drugs just to get through the day – and I’m not judging. I’ve been there myself.

“Everyone looks after one another here, if you see a chance to help your community you take it. Charity begins at home, doesn’t it?”

Local resident Cindy Grove, 40, has lived in the area since she was 12.

She said: “It’s a lovely place, and there are some good people. 

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“It’s hard for young people growing up in the area. There have been a few stabbings and there is a lot of peer pressure for kids to be involved in gangs.

"That can potentially be really dangerous for young people."

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