Statisticians tell us the coastal village of Jaywick is the most deprived area of the UK. It is a frequent victim of ‘poverty porn’, whether in photographs that note little more than the physical decay or in documentaries that render full human beings to little more than benefits claimants.
Less often shown are the aspects that actually make Jaywick, for many, a true neighbourhood. People there, who often have very little, give a lot – to each other and to their village. So yes, there are streets with debris lying in a pile. But you’ll often find less than 10 feet away a freshly painted planter and trellis with greenery taking hold.
Its a village where a woman, in this case Boo, has turned a caravan into a restaurant serving full English breakfasts for pretty much cost price (£3). Some of the people I met say Boo (pictured above) is a life-saver in a village where people are on the breadline and eating out is a treat. She is currently in the process of turning a shed into a Father Christmas grotto.
It’s a place where a car boot sale in November forge ahead even in the battering rains. Not, it seems, because people are eager to trade but because they are eager to spend time with one another.