Baraka Attends Kensington Report Launch in Parliament
Baraka attended the parliamentary launch of a report on inequality in Kensington and Chelsea.
Baraka Community Association attended the launch in parliament of the report ‘After Grenfell: Housing and inequality in Kensington and Chelsea: “The most unequal borough in Britain”’.
The report outlines the inequalities that exist in Kensington and Chelsea, the wealthiest area of Britain. A contrast is seen between the more affluent south of the borough, and the more deprived north, where Baraka carries out most its work.
The inequalities in Kensington and Chelsea were put under the national media spotlight following the Grenfell Tower disaster on June 14th. For Baraka, the new report, written by Member of Parliament for Kensington, Emma Dent Coad, provides useful research on life expectancy, child poverty (a key determiner of education outcomes), health, income inequality and housing. Combined, the study of these factors provides a thorough overview of the context in which Baraka carries out its work.
Findings in the report pertaining to Baraka’s work include:
The median (middle) income in the borough is £140,000, and the mean (average) is £45,000. However, one third of all workers in Kensington and Chelsea earn below £20,00 a year, and 10% of them earn less than the London Living Wage (£9:75 per hour). Lower paid workers are disproportionately located in North Kensington.
In Kensington and Chelsea (population: approximately 160,000) 4,500 children live in poverty. Two thirds of these children are from working families, with half of this number earning less than £7:50 per hour.
In Queens Gate ward, south of the borough, 2.8% of children are in poverty. In Henry Dickens Court in the Norland Ward, North Kensington, 58% of children are in poverty.
Low educational attainment runs parallel with poverty. Kensington and Chelsea’s average GCSE A*-C attainment is 72%. But on the Dalgarno ward in North Kensington, this percentage drops to 30%.
Recent years have seen funding for primary school sports activities reduced. And in 2010, free swimming for children was cut.
The reduced availability of healthy sporting activities has had a negative impact on health outcomes for children. Obesity in year six (ages 10 and 11) children in the borough has more than doubled from 8.6% in 2010 to 20% in 2016.
During the same period, the borough has seen exponential rises in diabetes, chronic heart and pulmonary disease and Tuberculosis.
As well as a physical impact, poverty has had a serious impact on mental health in the borough. In turn, the most vulnerable, those with mental, physical and learning disabilities experience the most extreme income inequality.
Housing insecurity is a key factor in the borough’s inequality, according to the report. With many families struggling to obtain secure, affordable homes, many are housed in temporary accommodation. Two thirds of Kensington and Chelsea’s temporary accommodation is located outside the borough, and the average time spent in such accommodation is 27 months. This has a detrimental impact on families, particularly on children who suffer academically.
The average home in the borough costs £1.5 million, while the average price for a flat in North Kensington is now over £700,000. This puts the private ownership market out of reach for most people in North Kensington. As a result, 68% of children in the Golborne ward (North Kensington) live in overcrowded homes.
The report states that housing situation was exacerbated by the Grenfell disaster, which led to an extra 857 individuals being made homeless, including 226 children who were living in Bed & Breakfasts at the time of the report’s publication (November 2017).
The above factors also have a psychological impact on disadvantaged communities, including vulnerable ethnic minority communities. A sense of not belonging and not having a stake in society can emerge. These are the factors that Baraka is working to offset by offering a range of opportunities and support to the local community, including:
- Supplementary schooling for primary and secondary aged children. Click here for details
- Free sports and fitness classes for children and young people, including a football club. More information click here
- A mentoring programme in which young people who have benefited from Baraka’s work mentor children and encourage them in their educational and personal development
- Residential trips and holidays to offer children and young people stimulating experiences unavailable in West London. These trips have included going to Sweden and the English countryside
- Community support including immediate assistance after the Grenfell disaster, helping people to access services
- Community advocacy through exploring opinion in a variety of formal and informal discussions. See here
- A series of public events titled #BCATalks looking at wider community and societal issues