Strong community spirit in deprived areas

“Neighbourhoods where there is a strong attachment to traditional values of thrift, hard work and independence; where there is a reluctance to rely on the state; where there is a concern to do one’s best for one’s children. Is this Middle England? No, it’s a description of six disadvantaged neighbourhoods across Britain, studied in depth over a period of three years.”

This is from a Joseph Rowntree Foundation blog by Alison Jarvis, referring to the findings of a qualitative long term study by Sheffield Hallam University (funded by the JRF) into people’s lives in 6 deprived areas.

The ‘Living through Change in Challenging Neighbourhoods’ research project featured 12 research papers culminating in a final report published in 2011. According to Research Paper 3 (‘The ‘Time-space’ Biographies of Daily Life in Deprived Neighbourhoods’):

“The areas are all in the lower two deciles of the relevant national deprivation index, and were selected to represent broad differences in the extent of diversity, connectivity and residential mobility according to relevant social indicators.”

For those who don’t have the time for the full report, this summary of the findings is well worth a read. The authors note that many people saw their area as ‘normal’ rather than deprived and observed that “as a rule, neighbourhood mattered most to people where both the economic legacy and future prospects for their community were least favourable”


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