Oxford City Council remains committed to work with its partner organisations to reduce the levels of deprivation in the city, following the release of new Government figures.
The Department for Communities and Local Government today (30 September) released the 2015 Indices of Deprivation, which measure levels of deprivation based on indicators such as income, employment, education, health and crime.
The figures show that part of The Leys (Oxford 018B) and Rose Hill (Oxford 016E) are in the 10 per cent most deprived areas in the country.
Other areas of Rose Hill (Oxford 016F) and The Leys (Oxford 018C, Oxford 017D, Oxford 018A, Oxford 017B and Oxford 017A), along with areas of Barton (Oxford 005B and Oxford 005A), are in the 20 per cent most deprived areas in the country.
The 10 areas of the city were all within the 10 or 20 per cent most deprived areas of the country five years ago when the Government’s last Indices of Deprivation figures were released.
Two areas of the city, part of Carfax ward and an area of Littlemore, have risen out of the 20 per cent most deprived areas since 2010.
At the other end of the social and economic scale, the 2015 Indices of Deprivation figures show that areas of north Oxford, Marston, Headington and Jericho are among the 10 per cent least deprived areas in the country.
Councillor Bob Price, Leader of Oxford City Council, said: “Barton, Rose Hill and The Leys have been key priority areas for the Council for the past decade, and we are using as many methods as we can – spending tens of millions of pounds – to tackle deprivation in these areas and to improve the life chances for those in our communities who are struggling.
“We have a very high level of employment in Oxford but people cannot access jobs if they do not have the skills or access to affordable childcare while at work, so we are working with the schools to improve educational attainment and career advice across Oxford and working with Oxfordshire County Council to maintain crucial services for deprived families that are threatened with the closure of children’s centres.
“The sky-high rents and house prices in the city also exacerbate deprivation, by taking higher and higher proportions of family incomes. The Council is doing as much as it can to build more houses in Oxford in the little space that we have left, such as the 885 houses currently being built in Barton Park and the 113 that have just been completed on small sites across the city. We are also lobbying neighbouring authorities to help us to tackle these problems by building on land adjacent to the city boundaries."
The City Council currently funds or organises a range of projects in Barton, Rose Hill and The Leys to tackle deprivation, including funding and organising job clubs, job fairs, open access to computers and internet, IT training, free swimming sessions for young people, reduced cost of admission to leisure centres for low-income families, health walks, estate walkabouts, old people’s groups and literacy groups.
In 2014, Oxford City Council named Barton, Rose Hill and The Leys as key priority areas for the Council. A regeneration strategic group, headed by a Council director and including key officers from across the Council, was set up for each area to oversee all the Council’s work.
On top of this, the Council has a locality officer for each of the areas from the Communities Team, whose job it is to bring together external partners and members of the communities to work together to tackle deprivation and inequality.
The regeneration groups and locality officers have been given three clear goals: improve quality of life, tackle the causes of deprivation, and involve people in developing their own and their communities’ priorities. Each key priority area then has its own individual goals based on demographic data and Councillor feedback.
Since the last Indices of Deprivation figures which were released in 2010, the City Council has spent tens of millions of pounds tackling to tackle deprivation in Barton, Rose Hill and The Leys.
Some of the capital programmes since 2010 include:
- £20m to refurbish the City Council’s five tower blocks in Oxford
- £8m to build the new Leys Pools and Leisure Centre in The Leys
- £5m to build the new Rose Hill Community Centre
- 885 houses in Barton Park – 40 per cent of which will be affordable
- £1m Great Estates Programme, including £500,000 to improve car parks.
On top of this, the City Council has allocated millions of pounds worth of grants to groups in Barton, Rose Hill and The Leys to tackle deprivation.
Between 2010/11 and 2015/16, the Council has given 37 grants worth £693,687 to organisation in The Leys, 23 grants worth £737,939 to organisations in Barton and 12 grants worth £558,827 to organisations in Rose Hill.
These grants have helped fund work and projects ranging from welfare, benefits and financial advice to community events and activities.
The Council also provides grants for organisations and groups to provide activities for children in Barton, Rose Hill and The Leys during school holidays.
Between 2010/11 and 2015/16, the Council has awarded £161,116 of these grants in Barton, £156,880 in Blackbird Leys and £102,892.17 in Rose Hill from this grant pot.