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/ 17 September 2013

Poverty on our doorstep: a tale of two cities

The production of the Church Urban Fund’s most recent research (August 2013) identifying poverty and disadvantage across England has certainly provoked concern, discussion and surprise in equal measure for many people across the country.

Taking into consideration a mix of different factors the Church Urban Fund conducted an analysis and produced a ranking system and a "league table" determining the most affluent to the most disadvantaged areas in the country. One of the headline statements that has come from the research and report tells us that London Diocese ranks 36th of the 42 Dioceses in England, where No1 (Guildford) is the most affluent and No42 (Manchester) is the most disadvantaged. This would rank us despite popular belief as being more disadvantaged than both Chelmsford (25) and Southwark (31) Dioceses. SURPRISED?

London (the Diocesan area, NOT Greater London which includes, the bits covered by Chelmsford, Rochester or Southwark) is starkly impacted by:

  • Child Poverty
  • Elders Poverty
  • Lone Parent Poverty and
  • Social Housing – a lack thereof

And for a number of the other factors/measures our score/rank goes against the national trend or average.

This all goes against the perception held. If you asked people (both inside and outside the church) "where do you think the richest/most affluent areas of the country are?" I suspect that many would say that those areas were in the south of the country and many would also guess that London – both the city and the Diocese – had to be amongst them.

If you also concurred with the view, research indicates that you couldn’t be any further from the truth as nationally we rank 36 of the 42 dioceses. Ours is an area with a chequer board effect with places of abject poverty cheek by jowl to those of comfort and relative affluence. Even at times with measures of disadvantage being taken down to post code level some decision-making processes have been unduly influenced by the presence of the affluence, hopefully now some of this information can be and will be used to lever in more resources to assist with the development and delivery of some of the much needed work that is taking place at parish, deanery and area levels.

From this picture you will be see the distribution of deprivation across the Diocese.

For those interested you in more detail do read the Church Urban Fund’s most recent poverty briefings. Here you will also find a search facility so that you can check and understand the level of poverty and disadvantage in your area.

This short snapshot was intended to bring the information out in a digestible form in this instance a more detailed briefing and dissemination is envisaged.

If you have any comments or questions about do forward them to Marlon Nelson.


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