There are over 1.6 million people living in Sussex – 526,671 in East Sussex, 806,892 in West Sussex and 273,369 in Brighton & Hove.
Sussex Uncovered 2: Bridging the Gap
It’s easy to think of Sussex as a county of great wealth. And it’s true that there are many people living comfortably in our county. However, alongside those people, there are significant numbers of others struggling to cope with disadvantage and deprivation.
Sussex Community Foundation’s new report, Sussex Uncovered 2: Bridging the Gap, was published in November 2016. It shows that child poverty is still shockingly high, three years after our first report in 2013. In addition, there is huge disparity between different parts of Sussex. In one area of Hastings, child poverty is running at over 75% (Baird ward, Hastings (75.5%), whereas in Lindfield, Mid Sussex, less than 1% (0.90%) of children live in poverty.
Data is drawn from the 2015 English Indices of Multiple Deprivation (IMD) which scores for very small geographical areas called LSOAs (lower layer super output areas). LSOAs have an average 1,500 people so they give a good indication of smaller pockets of deprivation. In Brighton and Hove, the LSOA with the worst child poverty was in Moulsecoomb and Bevendean, ranked 3rd most deprived in Sussex and 114th nationally.
Like the first report, Sussex Uncovered 2: Bridging the Gap shows that there is serious deprivation in Sussex, comparable to the most deprived inner city areas and that the costs of living in a rural community are substantially higher than for town-dwellers. Around 25% of Sussex people (outside Brighton & Hove) live in rural areas and those living on low incomes there can face multiple disadvantages.
“The first Sussex Uncovered report found that Sussex is a great place to live if you can afford it,” says Chief Executive Kevin Richmond. “ In this report, we wanted to look in a more qualitative way to uncover what is going on at the grassroots.”
Much else has changed and evolved too in the past three years. The Government’s austerity policies have started to have a real impact on the lives of people in our communities and on the charities and community groups that support them. “We asked a number of the groups that we have funded to tell us about the services they provide, how they are managing the new funding environment and their hopes for the future. Their views and experiences are reflected in this report,” says Mr Richmond.
Building community solutions
At Sussex Community Foundation, we can’t change deep-rooted and structural disadvantage but we can – and do – invest in the people and groups that are working to mitigate the huge pressures that deprivation brings and to address the problems faced by their communities.