Why Suffolk’s ‘prosperous’ image isn’t all that it seems
- Credit: Sarah Lucy brown
Suffolk is viewed by many as being relatively prosperous, but the Hidden Needs report reveals that image masks deprivation in communities. And now there is a call for the county to work together to tackle it.
Even in some of what appear to be the most idyllic rural villages there can be serious hardship with people suffering from poverty – or facing isolation from what most see as basic services.
Stephen Singleton, chief executive of the Suffolk Community Foundation, which commissioned the report, said: “Suffolk is by no means among the most deprived counties in England. But it is also not among the most advantaged.
“What the long view shows us is that Suffolk includes some of the most deprived neighbourhoods in England and that, for most of these neighbourhoods, they’ve been experiencing long term problems and things don’t seem to be getting better.
“It’s shocking that three quarters of the neighbourhoods which were identified as being among the most deprived 10% in England in 2007 were still in the most deprived group 12 years later.
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“The other thing that the long view shows us is that, over the last 12 years, Suffolk has been slowly slipping down the ranking – relative deprivation has gradually been increasing.
“In most case, this doesn’t mean that whole neighbourhoods have suddenly become deprived. What it means is that there are more households in neighbourhoods – even in generally affluent neighbourhoods – who have become a bit more worse off.
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“The long-term view has enabled us to better identify the persistent drivers of deprivation in Suffolk which are highlighted in the report.”
MORE: What the report shows us about SuffolkHead of public sector partnerships at the SCF, Michael Attwood, said the information would enable it to target its work towards those who really needed it: “We will try to use the report in a similar way as before. We will use it to help inform our grant making activity and the insights will enable this to be done in a targeted and strategic way.“We will also be able to use the findings to inform our work with local philanthropists who may wish to contribute to tackling a particular issue.“Additionally, we will use the report with our partners across the public sector where we can help to not only inform their activity but use the findings to help build new strategic relationships and further grant programmes.” Much of the work on the report was carried out by the University of Suffolk.Professor Emma Bond, Director of Research, said: “The Hidden Needs Report was a vitally important piece of research when we first became the University of Suffolk so we are very pleased that our work with the Suffolk Community Foundation has continued.“It is an excellent example of how our research positively impacts on evidence based policy-making. This third report highlights existing inequalities in our county and stresses the need to work together to overcome these challenges.“This report, compiled by a team including my colleague Cristian Dogaru, provides a robust evidence base which we know will be a vital catalyst in addressing particular economic and social issues and prioritising the hidden needs that exist within Suffolk.”