Chris Kilkenny

‘I was struggling at school. Nobody asked if I was OK’

Poverty and disadvantage isn’t a foreign concept: it is real, it is happening in our schools, and teachers need to make sure they are helping wherever they can

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When I think back to childhood, the strongest feelings are of hunger and of sadness. I witnessed a lot of drink and drug misuse, physical and domestic abuse, even death.

I’ve never been a drug addict, but I was in family rehab unit with my mum – who was addicted to heroin – twice before I was 12. We lived with my younger sister and twin brothers in Wester Hailes, a part of Edinburgh where many people live well beneath the poverty line. I spent three years in a care home. My siblings were fostered; they still are. At 16, I was moved into my own home in high-rise flats. I turned 21 last year.

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