OCSI and All-Party Parliamentary Group identifies 225 ‘left behind’ places in England that receive less charitable funding than other areas

People who live in 225 “left behind” neighbourhoods in England receive less than half the charitable grant funding than other deprived places, according to new research.

New analysis conducted by Oxford Consultants for Social Inclusion (OCSI) for the All-Party Parliamentary Group for ‘left behind’ neighbourhoods, was published last week. MPs warn that these areas need targeted investment at the hyper-local level directly to develop social infrastructure.

Neighbourhoods are classified as “left behind” when they fall within the most deprived 10% of areas on the Index of Multiple Deprivation (IMD) and also lack social infrastructure, such as community centres. These areas are predominantly located near the coast and and on the outskirts of post-industrial towns and cities in the North and Midlands. 

Less charitable funding 

Analysis of 360 Giving’s Grant Nav data for 2004 to 2021 “left behind” neighbourhoods received less funding per head from main charitable grant funders than other deprived areas. 

“Left behind” neighbourhoods received on average £7.77 in national charitable grant funding per head.  The average across England as a whole is £12.23, while for other deprived areas it is £19.31.

The research found organisations in “left behind” neighbourhoods also received approximately half the number of COVID-19 specific grants from charitable foundations since the start of the pandemic.

They were also less than half as likely to have a registered charity in their local area than the England average, and more than 70% of the 225 areas had less dedicated community space than the England average.

The reports conclusions are as follows:

o Left Behind Neighbourhoods (LBNs) are identified as experiencing the dual disadvantage of having high levels of deprivation (low income, poor health outcomes, high levels of worklessness etc.), whilst lacking the key community and civic assets to address these challenges.

o The evidence presented in the paper highlighted the extent of the scarcity of these assets across
communities identified as ‘left behind’. LBNs have lower concentrations of all key community spaces,
cultural, educational, heritage, leisure and green assets than other deprived areas and England.

o A number of LBNs are entirely lacking in shops, cultural assets and open spaces that provide places for people to meet and engage in community life.

o This lack of social focal points is likely to contribute towards relatively poor levels of community
engagement in LBNs compared with the national average, with 97% of LBNs having a higher proportion
of citizens who have not taken part in any civic engagement and 98% having a higher proportion of
residents who do not engage in any volunteering.

o This is also reflected in the lack of third sector activity in many of these areas, despite relatively high
levels of socio-economic challenges that would benefit from the energy and investment from the
voluntary and community sector. LBNs are less than half as likely to contain a registered charity and
have received considerably lower levels of grant funding not only when compared to other deprived
areas but also compared to less deprived areas across England as a whole. This pattern has continued
in the pandemic with fewer grants issued by charitable foundations in response to COVID-19 in LBNs
than elsewhere in the country.

o Building community capacity, expanding third sector activity, and ensuring that residents have places
to meet and make connections is likely to be an essential ingredient to addressing some of the
currently unmet needs and complex deprivation challenges in these neighbourhoods.

OCSI’s report “‘Left behind’ Neighbourhoods: Community data dive” can be accessed for free at this LINK.

Source: Civil Society News