Identifying and Addressing resident’s priorities in one of London’s most diverse communities
The consultations conducted by Lambeth for the Co-operative Local Investment Plan indicated common priorities (e.g. transport) but also significant differences between those who responded on-line and those questioned in the street (e.g. environment versus skills and jobs). The analyses in the Lambeth Annual Public Health Report (People, Place and Opportunity) and the differences between registered patients and residents as identified by the Office of National Statistics (ONS) help explain these.
The 44,500 residents of Norwood comprise one of the most socially diverse populations in London, let alone the UK. Multi-millionaires live on the same street as migrant workers in residential hostels. 58% of the residents of Gipsy Hill are in the top quintile for deprivation. Thurlow Park has under 14% and is in the bottom quintile. The area is culturally and linguistically diverse. 32% of residents were born outside the UK. 25% have a non-UK passport. There are problems of communication with transient residents (turnover is over 13% p.a.). Even before the Covid lockdown there was a combination of deprivation and social isolation. Nearly 40% of adult residents live alone or in single parent families: never been married/had a partner, separated/divorced, or widowed.
Communications problems have been compounded by the growing switch to on-line services, to 'improve efficiency' and cut costs. Recent ONS data indicates less than half of UK adults have completed a government form on-line. Most pensioners have not gone on-line, save to read emails, in the last three months. Publicity for on-line fraud, combined with personal experience and the lack of access to realistic security education and support, has bred fear and a reluctance to go on-line unless there is very good reason to do so, or there is someone trusted available to help. The acceleration of telephone-based and door-step fraud during the Covid lockdown have added to the difficulties of contacting those in most need.
Meanwhile reported crime, apart from sporadic violence (e.g. shootings and stabbings), is below average for London (let alone Lambeth). The area is therefore low on policing priorities.
The task is to make better use of the resources already available within the community and draw in those interested in piloting new approaches, within the 'public health' strategy adopted by Lambeth and its partners. That strategy already involves working with a variety of providers, including Thamesreach and the Rathbone Society, both supported by City of London Livery Companies.
Extending that approach to working with the many faith, residents, tenants, youth and other voluntary groups active in Norwood is hampered because most of the necessary contact files were deleted to comply with the General Data Protection Regulations. Rebuilding them is complicated by an almost universal reluctance to provide personal (as opposed to organisational) contact details, lest these be leaked and/or abused,