To be deprived of something means not having something that is seen as essential. Others may still have it. A deprived area is one that is deprived of those essential things to life, to society, to living well and growing up well. Deprivation in an area is seen and felt. Long term deprivation is devastating.
Loss of public services over the last 10 years is a good example. Neighbourhoods have lost public buildings, they have lost their library, housing office, job centre, fire station, police station, doctors, dentist, children’s centre, youth club, playgrounds. The list goes on. Not only losing the physical building they used to visit as a child with their parents but the centralised service that replaced it is not as good. You have to travel to them now. And share the service with more people. So there is less of a service on offer.
And then the loss of private facilities follow, loss of supermarkets, shops, pubs, religious buildings even. And the other services, regular bus services. Before long you have an estate with very little deprived of fresh food supplies except its housing, and its people.
The former buildings stand empty, often left boarded up for years whilst the public service decides what to do with it. Sometimes community groups are lucky and get offered the building to provide new hope, a community hub or new community activity still based in their neighbourhood. We have great examples of that in South Yorkshire. Or the worst of them all, stay open but not open to the public, so there but not there, facing inwards. The living environment is so important. How it looks, what is the housing like? Is it safe, affordable and good quality? Do people have open space to use? What’s the air quality like?
Deprivation in an area also comes in other forms, deprived of good job opportunities and good jobs that pay well, deprived of a good educational attainment if the local schools are not performing well. This lack of good job opportunities leads to less income for many and so less money in the area as a whole. More people rely on benefits as there are not the secure job opportunities and this in turn limits the money people can spend in the area, if you don’t have it you can’t spend it. The whole area is deprived of money. A loan sharks dream.
Deprivation in health is another concern, a lack of food choice and fresh food supplies coupled with a lack of local health services, poorer life expectancy, serious illness, disability, the risk of premature death, means the area becomes a deprived area health wise too with many health warning indicators flashing red and amber.
Lastly crime. The impact crime and fear of crime has on an area and a person is massive. Crime stats are measured, but the fear of going out to the shops in your own area is not. Community reassurance, understanding crime in an area and explaining why it is happening and preventing and reducing crime is something we are now working on, whilst looking at deprivation as whole.
If you were wondering, the seaside town of Jaywick in Essex has been named the most deprived place in England 3 times since 2010. You can measure deprivation. There is something called the Index of Deprivation (IMD) that measures and ranks areas according to various measures of deprivation. If you want to know more click on this link below. Some places in South Yorkshire are lower than anyone would like. Once we know how deprived an area is, we should and will do something about it. Some things are generational and will take time to change, others can be changed quicker. Understanding deprivation and its impacts is the starting point. Let’s work together and speak up for change.