FAMILIES are on a 'financial cliff edge' and one in four of the town's children live in poverty, according to a new report.

It was revealed as part of a draft three-year strategy put together by the Barnsley Anti-Poverty Board to tackle the growing problem of poverty in the borough.

Poverty is defined in the report as a lack of income or resources which prevent people from taking part in the society they're living in.

This often results in those people experiencing multiple disadvantages through unemployment, low income, poor housing, inadequate health care and barriers to lifelong learning, culture, sport and recreation.

The strategy has been put together as a matter of urgency due to the impact the recession, government austerity measures and welfare reforms are having on households.

Such predictions include an increase in child poverty which the Institute for Fiscal Studies believes will result in one in four children being in relative poverty by 2020.

"That figure is already a reality for Barnsley, according to government child poverty figures, with 24.9 per cent of our children living in relative poverty in 2010," writes Frances Foster, chairman of the Barnsley Anti-Poverty Board.

According to the report, there are 10,655 under-16s living in households reliant upon out-of-work benefits.

It says beyond the 25 per cent of children already classed as living in poverty, a further 21 per cent of Barnsley families are living on a 'financial cliff edge'.

They're described as being 'an unexpectedly large fuel bill or broken fridge away from being in poverty' due to their lack of financial resilience.

Those most affected often include families with children, lone parents, people with a disability, certain ethnic minorities and workless families/households.

It shows the Dearne and Thurnscoe have the highest rates of worklessness in Barnsley, figures based on out-of-work benefit claimant rates.

Athersley has the second highest rates with Dodworth, Penistone West and Penistone East having the lowest.

The board plans to address poverty issues by promoting employment, fostering independence by supporting residents to manage their income more effectively and protecting the vulnerable.