Friday 27th Sep, 2013

New report identifies areas of social need in Norfolk

A new report has identified some of the main social issues and areas of need facing the seven districts of Norfolk, two of which are in the top 25 most vulnerable districts in the UK.

Commissioned by the Norfolk Community Foundation, the document highlights priority and cross cutting issues affecting those that live in the county. Focusing on five key areas; rural isolation, old age poverty, childhood and young person deprivation, health deprivation and disability and cohesion and integration, the report reveals that whilst Norfolk is generally perceived as a prosperous area, the general affluence of the county conceals the deprivation that exists.

Chief Executive of the Foundation, Graham Tuttle explains, “Whilst some of the findings will come as no surprise to those operating within or close to the charity sector, this report consolidates research from a range of sources to inform a wider audience as to the scale and nature of deprivation in Norfolk and highlights why an increased level of funding and local giving is vital to strengthening our local communities.  It also serves to inform our own grant-making and provides evidence to national funding bodies that Norfolk experiences high levels of disadvantage and that there are pockets of significant deprivation across the county which need to be addressed.”

Simon Smith, Regional Director (East Anglia) of Barclays, who sponsored the report, commented “We are delighted to build on our active support and relationship with the Norfolk Community Foundation. We play a broader role in the communities in which we live and work often through community investment programmes and the direct efforts of our colleagues. This report highlights the need for businesses across the county to get involved in helping to support the communities in which we operate.  Barclays has its roots in Norfolk dating back over 240 years and we’re committed to supporting Norfolk needs for many generations to come.

Some of the key findings include:

  • Around 109,800 of the Norfolk population – about one in eight – are income deprived and around 26,100 children in Norfolk live in income deprived families.
  • Almost 47,400 Norfolk residents live in areas that have been classed as being among the 10% most deprived in the country with communities characterised by low incomes, aspirations and skills, poor living environments, high unemployment, high crime and poor health.
  • In 2010, 13% of Norfolk’s working population aged 16-64 held no qualifications compared to 10.4% regionally and 11.3% nationally.
  • Rural Norfolk experiences high levels of unemployment – 4.3% of the economically active population are unemployed, compared to 2.3% across all rural areas.
  • There is a difference of 19 years life expectancy of men living in our most deprived communities and those living in the least deprived, a staggering statistic highlighting the inequalities across the county.
  • As the ageing population rises, the number of people in the county with dementia is expected to rise by 71% over the next 20 years which will have a dramatic impact on those affected and their families.

George Nobbs, Leader of Norfolk County Council, said: “The report confirms the view that many of us have had for a long time, that despite its prosperous and delightful image, Norfolk harbours a great deal of deprivation in both rural and urban areas.  It is especially useful because, besides confirming what we already knew, it provides detailed information which will aid us in tackling some of the county’s underlying problems. It is an extremely valuable piece of work which my administration wholly endorses.”

Graham Tuttle says, “Clearly there is a real need to support the groups affected by some of the issues highlighted in this report and as individuals, residents and businesses within Norfolk, we all have a part to play.  Private and corporate philanthropy offers a lifeline for the survival of the voluntary and community groups who work tirelessly to improve the quality of people’s lives, and we wouldn’t be in a position to support those groups to the extent we do if it weren’t for their generosity.  However, more can be done and the role of the Foundation is to encourage further community involvement to prevent issues arising and reduce the negative impact of some of the external factors identified here.”

For a copy of the Norfolk Strategic Needs Report (either in a full or summary version) or to find out how you or your organisation can help to support the Foundation in addressing some of the issues raised, please contact Anna Douglas on 01603 623958 or email annadouglas@norfolkfoundation.com.