April 3, 2022 6.00 am

Scunthorpe estate shakes off stigma of Channel 4’s “poverty porn” Skint

‘It’s nothing like it looked on the show’

By Local Democracy Reporter

The Westcliff estate in Scunthorpe is still shaking off the stigma of being the unfortunate setting for ‘Skint’ nearly ten years on.

But residents insist there’s more to this friendly neighbourhood than what was seen on TV.

The Channel 4 show followed unemployed people living on the Scunthorpe estate. It became a hit but was slammed as “poverty porn” which glamorised alcohol, drugs and living on the dole.

Since then, Westcliff has built a new precinct and the Arc community hub in a £9million regeneration. However, the area is dealing with the legacy of the show.

There’s been a lot of investment in recent years.

 

“It was that programme which gave Westcliff a bad reputation,” one man said, without having to name it. “It painted us in such a bad light.

“People still talk about it today, and see it the same way.

“It’s not a bad place, to be honest. It’s nice and quiet, which is why a lot of people came here.”

David Dunn also sees the area’s stigma as undeserved. He has enjoyed the three years that he has lived in the area.

“It’s just a normal place, not like you see on TV. You get good and bad spots everywhere you go, but there’s nothing particularly wrong here,” he said.

“You get the odd problem with people selling drugs, but it doesn’t really affect your day-to-day life. They leave you alone if you leave them alone.

“On the whole, it’s a pretty friendly place – there are a lot of good neighbours.”

There are positive signs of regeneration in areas, with desirable new properties sitting alongside older social housing. Police have also worked to close nuisance houses – some of which featured on Skint – which were magnets for criminal activity.

However, other residents are still fed up with the annoying antisocial behaviour that they have to put up with.

“Young lads on motorbikes and mopeds quite often tear past the house as though it’s a race track,” local resident Geoff Maw said. “Sometimes it goes on into the middle of the night.

“There’s also a lot of kids who seem to think that your front garden is a park. They cut through it or hang around until you get fed up and tell them to move on. It would be nice if we didn’t have to deal with that.”

A resident who lives near the high rise on Bridges Road said that it didn’t cause the problems it once did.

“You see police there occasionally dealing with drugs, but it’s a lot better than it used to be. You wouldn’t know it’s there most of the time,” he said.

Government funding has also gone towards crime-reduction programmes in recent years to make residents feel safer in the area. A £500,000 package was announced in 2020 to create video intercoms, better fencing, and safer storage areas for communal flats.