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The Need for Advice Work in East Hackney
Based in East Hackney, the Hackney Marsh Partnership geographical area includes Homerton, an area badly clogged with traffic.
The area is dominated by large post-war Housing estates, the Homerton University Hospital and the old Hackney Hospital.
It leads down to the Kingsmead area, which is further
from central Hackney. Public transport is poor.
As with the whole East Hackney area, shopping facilities
and amenities remain extremely limited (6).
The Hackney Wick area is a short walk from Kingsmead
estate, but remains one of the most isolated areas in inner London.
Hackney Wick is bound by busy roads, especially the
East Cross Route and Eastway, the railway line and by factories and
then the Marshes/River Lea.
Facilities are non-existent or very limited. There
are no shops.
Residents of Hackney Wick see themselves as the 'forgotten
people' in Hackney (5). There is an over subscribed playgroup, nursery
and a GP surgery. Prone to traffic congestion around the estate, apart
from the Silver Link Line, public transport is very poor.
Hackney's permanent traveller site is situated in
the area in the middle of Industrial land, separated from the Hackney
Wick area by a busy road.
The Lee Conservancy Road lies between Kingsmead and
Hackney Wick and is dominated by a housing estate managed by a Social
According to a the Homerton Wick Sure Start Programme
Delivery Plan "There is no bank, or retail outlets anywhere in
the area. The quality of most of the major services is poor. There are
few public buildings (with the exception of Homerton Hospital. Many
of the open spaces are in poor condition with abandoned cars and motorbikes,
broken glass litter."
Kings Park ward reported 49 Burglaries, per 1,000
households in 2001 (the UK average is 14 per 1000) (13).
According to the Jarmen Index: Kings Park ward is
measured as the 2nd most deprived ward in Hackney (50.94) followed by
In the 1998 Joseph Rowntree Foundation Neighbourhood Dissatisfaction Survey, based on key indicator e.g. local services, community environment, crime, Kings Park ward scored 20.67 out of 21, the highest in Hackney.
Hackney Deprivation Indices
The London Borough of Hackney ranks high on every
Department of Environment, Transport and Regions (DETR) indices of deprivation.
* 100% of the population live in wards amongst the 10% most deprived
wards in the country, ranking Hackney first on the Extent Scale in England
out of 354 districts. (The Extent Scale measures the proportion of a
district living within the most deprived 10% of wards in the country).
On the Average of Ward Ranks Scale, Hackney is the
second most deprived district in the country (This is a measure of population
weighted average of the combined ranks for the wards in a district.)
On the DETR Income Scale Hackney is the 17th most
deprived district in the country. On the Employment Scale, Hackney is
the most deprived district in the country.
Hackney Marsh Partnership contains significant parts
of Chatham, Kings Park and Wick wards. The total population for the
catchment area is 14,330 (2).
According to the Index of Multiple Deprivation Chatham,
Kings Park and Wick wards rank as among, the most disadvantaged in England.
Children and Housing
The indices for children and housing indicate very
high levels of need.
The proportion of 0-4 year olds in Kings Park, Wick
and Chatham wards is 62% above the London average (5).
81% of homes in Kings Park and Wick wards are rented
accommodation and 79% are purpose built flats (2).
Only 10% of Kings Park and Wick wards are owner-occupiers
40% of those in social rented sector receive a form
of benefit (2).
Overcrowding in Kings Park, Wick and Chatham wards
is 4.6 times higher than England and Wales average (13).
59% of Kings Park children are from one-parent families
Kings Park, Chatham and Wick wards have 3.9 times
the average proportion of lone parent families (5).
76% of Homerton College and 82% of Kingsmead Primary
School pupils receive free school meals (2).
Income and Finance
The income ranking is extremely low.
61.5% of adults in Kings Park ward are eligible for
income support (2).
Advice on welfare benefit entitlement accounted for
41.5%% of advice casework (6.3% of casework related to debt, 7.3% related
to consumer contract and 24.4% to housing).
22.9% of Wick ward residents have Housing Benefit
The average rent arrears in East Hackney is £600
Ownership of financial products is low. The penetration
of hire purchase agreements is, however, 68% above average (13).
The rates of new account opening in Kings Park and
Wick wards are high - 3.2 times more new savings accounts being opened
and 2.5 times more new current accounts (13).
65.5% of people in Kings Park ward are economically
inactive (including unemployed, students, elderly/retired and people
with a disability) (2).
In 2001/02 41.1% of Kingsmead Advice Service clients
indicated a disability (up 5% on 2000/01).
The work of Kingsmead Advice Service directly resulted in clients improving their income - in 2000/01 this totalled £78,707.83, in 2001/02 the income totalled £161,689.76.
The employment indices contrast significantly with
the London average.
Unemployment is 11.5% in Kings Park (2) - 2.8 times
higher than average (13).
In 2001/02 22% of Kingsmead Advice Service users were employed (up 8% on the previous year). 41% of Kings Park and Wick are from Afro-Caribbean or Asian ethnic groups (5).
Refugees and Asylum Seekers
Department of Health figures (1999) suggest that
there are over 250,000 refugees residing in London, with between 16,000-20,000
living in Hackney alone (Health of Londoners Project 1999).
It has been well documented that refugees and asylum
seekers can be amongst the most vulnerable and excluded groups in society
(DOH 1999) experiencing language barriers, employment issues, isolation
and trauma (Asylum Statistics United Kingdom, 1997).
Anecdotal evidence from organisations working with
refugees and asylum seekers in East Hackney (including Kingsmead Advice
Service) has highlighted this.
In 2000/2001 5% of casework related to immigration issues, this rose to 9% in 2001/2002.
Data about the ethnic diversity of the population
has been based on updated estimates deriving from the 1991 Census figures
(2) and (5). They indicate the following breakdown of ethnic groups.
White - 62%, Black Carribian - 11%,
It is recognised that there may be under-estimates
in the population figures from some groups, particularly Eastern European
ethnic groups. The ethnicity of users of Kingsmead Advice Service in
2001/02 is a follows
White - 25.1% Black British - 10.5%
The Need for Advice Service Provision
A significant need, (consistently highlighted by
our own formal and informal consultation with East Hackney LAW users
and other research, feedback questionnaires and discussion with tenants
across the East Hackney area) is for advice work.
The London Advice Services Alliance (LASA) indicate
that the London Borough of Hackney has insufficient provision for those
actively seeking help and support, information and advice.
London Borough of Hackney has made significant cuts to its (minimal) support for independent advice provision. This has had a significant impact on the level of advice service provision in Hackney.