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Easington Colliery was once a typical booming coal mining town in the North-East of England, where the hills reverberated to the sounds of industry, of coal and steel, of power and machination. The skylines were dominated by the engine houses and giant wheels of coal mines and the streets by hundreds of terraced pit-cottages filled with the families of those that toiled deep below ground. Now these once flourishing colliery towns across the North of England are devastated; the mist rolls in from the sea over boarded up houses, there is mass unemployment and many young lives are ravaged by drugs. It did not have to be this way but there has been virtually no investment in these areas. There are twelve people for every one job going, and many now live on social welfare benefits with successive generations of children growing up with no expectations of work or opportunity. Far from the wheels of power and business in London and southern England, their voices have been unheard for decades.

Modern day deprivation in areas like this, in otherwise rich countries like the UK, is a subtle and insidious thing. It manifests itself in a lack of education and ideas, a desperate paucity of opportunities, of horizons and dreams. There are no real jobs or investment, just a few low skilled factory positions, often soul-destroying work for people who see their contemporaries in other parts of the country as better off than themselves.

Perhaps the only constant in these fragile communities is love and family; the one thing that has been a positive in their lives. As communities died, those that were left supported each other. So for many young women, having children while still very young is extremely common. But with few jobs and low incomes, it is not easy to bring up families and the cycle of deprivation is repeated.
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