Research by the University of Wolverhampton will help the Heart of England Community Foundation tackle some of the biggest issues facing communities across Birmingham and the Black Country.
Communities Uncovered was commissioned by the Heart of England Community Foundation, an independent charity which distributes funding across the West Midlands, to examine issues affecting the region, including unemployment, health and social welfare. The research was carried out by the University’s new Institute for Community Research and Development.
The findings were presented at an event which took place at the University in front of an audience of more than 100 invited guests, including representatives from the government and local authorities, voluntary organisations, police and funding bodies.
Heart of England Community Foundation
The Heart of England Community Foundation has distributed £2.7 million in funding to 916 community projects across the Black Country and Birmingham since 2014.
It commissioned the report to ensure that future grants remain strategically distributed “to meet the most pressing needs across the area”.
The report highlights facts including that across Birmingham and the Black Country a total of 4,800 people are recognised as homeless and in priority need, 68% of people are overweight, and in the West Midlands there are just 75 jobs for every 100 residents.
Dr Steve Iafrati, Senior Social Policy Lecturer at the University of Wolverhampton, who led the research said: “This report provides an accessible way to identify areas of need and to begin to recognise the ways in which certain groups may need supporting and that certain cycles may need breaking.
“One of the outcomes of the report is to identify a range of indicators and challenges facing various geographical areas within Birmingham and the Black Country. With this information, it is possible for the Foundation to consider strategies for future funding, including which areas and themes to prioritise.”
Recommendations from the research
Recommendations based on the research include:
- supporting adults in areas with higher than average unemployment to access jobs through training and supporting
- extended learning opportunities for young people at risk of falling below average GCSE scores
- the need for support for teenage parents
- helping organisations working to tackle obesity, health issues and higher than average levels of homelessness.
Tina Costello, CEO of Heart of England Community Foundation, said: “This report aims to shine a light on those complex social issues which are having the most pronounced effect on local people and communities.
“With this information we hope to be able to make more informed choices about our grant making priorities to help tackle these needs head on, communicating these to other funders, donors, philanthropists and businesses to harness more support.
“Our partnership with the University of Wolverhampton represents our serious commitment to expand our learning and data and achieve greater outcomes for local communities.”
Get free email updates
Keep up to date with fundraising news, ideas and inspiration with a weekly or daily email. [Privacy]