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New research reveals stark differences in how communities in UK say they are faring

New research out today from The National Lottery Community Fund, the largest funder of community activity in the UK, shows the stark difference in how communities across the UK think they are faring compared to others.

The data shows significant contrasts in people’s perceptions of quality of life, opportunities, job and employment prospects and other key measures, such as health and wellbeing, based on geography, social class, education, levels of local deprivation and ethnicity.

The findings come from The National Lottery Community Fund’s Community Research Index - an annual survey of over 8,000 adults across the UK designed to find out how people feel about, and their ambitions for, their communities.

Overall, almost three quarters of people in the UK (72%) think their local community is faring well for quality of life compared to other communities. However, this jumps to 78% of people in the South West of England, but dips to 67% for those in the North West and North East, falling further to 62% for those living in the most deprived[1] areas of the UK.

When asked about life opportunities, those in higher social grades (ABC1) are more likely to say their community is faring well (76%) than those from lower grades (67%). Similarly, over half (56%) of people who went to university say their communities are doing well for life opportunities, but this drops to 46% for those who did not graduate from higher education.

The data also reveals the importance of being part of a community – with those who feel part of their community more likely to say they are faring well for life opportunities (58%) and overall quality of life (79%), than those do not feel part of their local community (29% and 52% respectively).

However, while experiences vary considerably, people are largely agreed on what is required to reduce regional inequalities. Priorities include a good range of employment and training opportunities (53%), increased access to affordable housing (53%) and reduced levels of poverty and deprivation (52%).

Young people are also centre of mind, with more youth clubs or activities for young people (39%) and improved schools (39%) identified as important for reducing inequalities.

Looking into the longer-term and housing (44%), employment opportunities (41%) and a thriving high street (44%) top the list of the local changes people would like to see. At the same time, around a third want the next generation to enjoy cleaner air (34%) and more green spaces (32%), along with less traffic/more routes for cycling and walking (28%) and more community spaces (25%).

The findings are being released today as The National Lottery Community Fund launches a Strategy Renewal process that will shape how it supports people and communities into the future. It says it is taking that step some years after the existing strategy has been in place and at a time when things look very different in the world. With a commitment to be there for everyone, The National Lottery Community Fund seeks to use the Strategy Renewal process to ensure it can continue to make the biggest difference to communities, helping to respond to different challenges and opportunities communities face across the UK.

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