True Vision

films that make a difference

Growing Up Poor - Girls

Back to ‘Our Films’
57 minutes
Tim Lawton
Executive Producer:
Brian Woods and Tina Cawte

Filmed over one summer Growing Up Poor - Girls follows three very different teenage girls. All on the cusp of adulthood and dealing with the pressures of growing up with one similarity - they are all surviving on under a tenner a day.

- In April 2012, Britain entered a double dip recession for the first time in 37 years *

- 1 in 5 young people are unemployed **

- Over 300,000 teenagers claim benefits to get by, most get £8 / day ***

Click here to read kelly Mattison's cover story in Big Issue about the film

Tweets right now about Growing Up Poor:-


For Bridie, her hopes of joining the army hinge on her staying out of trouble with the police, but when they patrol your neighbourhood and things are always kicking off, this is easier said than done.

Amber is 16 and pregnant, she's fortunate that her mum's there to support her but nonetheless scraping money together for all that she needs is a tough ask, let alone the prospect of motherhood.

Like so many British teenagers affected by the recession Shelby was on Jobseeker's Allowance, but she's determined to find a job. Currently completing a work placement, she desperately hopes it will develop into a real job.

With quick wit and brutal honesty, each of them takes you into their world and paints a bleak portrait of Britain in the grips of a recession - highlighting the chances, or lack of, for today's youth when you're growing up poor.

Help for Teens in Poverty

There are many specialised charities in the UK working to tackle the issues causes by poverty, which can offer help and support to young people in similar circumstances to those shown in the film. Details of a range of organisations can be found at the bottom of this page and also on the BBC Growing Up Poor website.

However if you specifically wish to help the young people in the film, items can be sent to our office at 49a Oxford Road South, London W4 3DD and will be passed on to Bridie, Amber and Shelby.  However if you do send anything to our office, please also include postage to cover the cost of sending your gift on. If you wish to send a cheque, please make it payable to The Aletheia Foundation.  If you want further information, email Petra on [email protected] who can give you details.

Latest News

December 2014

Shelby is very well. She is running two virtual franchises and both are having some success. She would like to thank viewers for their continued support and for their kind words. 

March 2013


Message from Shelby "Thank you doesn't seem to be enough for the gifts and donations that have been sent. It's really nice of everybody. I'm really touched that people have gone to the trouble of sending me things and really grateful they have. Thank you very much!"

May 2013

Great news. Shelby has given birth to a lovely healthy baby boy.  Mother and baby are great and enjoying getting to know each other.

Further sources of help

Money Advice & Benefits

Housing Help


General Advice


Health and Pregnancy Support

Drug & Alcohol



*** DWP Tabulation tool

Population pyrimid tool


Teen Drug Evolution: A Parent's Resource Guide

Drug Prevention 4 Teens

Parent's Guide to Finding Safe Online Communities for Kids

An Interactive Guide to Staying Safe on the Internet


We have been contacted by a number of people interested in the music used in the film. The track listing for the Girls film is as follows:

The Keeper [Banks Remix] by Bonobo /

Black Sands Remixed

Say Something To Someone by Rothko /

Eleven Stages Of Intervention

Brace Brace by Bonobo /

Black Sands Remixed

Infinite Lives by Tam Cooper

Modul 36 by Nik Bartsch's Ronin / Stoa

Beams by Tape / Luminarium

Moth Wings by Tape / Luminarium

Rescue Song by Mr Little Jeans

Three Twenty Two by Mark Beazley / Stateless

Light Pattern by Bonobo / Dial 'M' For Monkey

Hey Sparrow by Peaking Lights


Parade by Tape / Luminarium

Fortune by Little Dragon