Herts has ‘pockets of deprivation’ all over

Berkhamsted High Street: now available for free parking after county council slip-up
Berkhamsted High Street: now available for free parking after county council slip-up

Hertfordshire has ‘pockets of deprivation in every district’, according to a new report published by a community grants charity.

The Hertfordshire Matters report – the result of collaboration between Hertfordshire Community Foundation (HCF), the University of Hertfordshire and Herts County Council – highlights the challenges facing the county – including low skill attainment, lack of affordable housing and loneliness among the elderly.

The HCF, which was founded in 1988, raises cash and hands out grants to those most in need across Hertfordshire.

HCF director Jonathan Aves said: “Hertfordshire has a problem in that it is perceived as affluent and leafy, but some of the areas represent the worst 10 per cent of poverty in the UK.

“The government tends to bypass the county because it’s not deemed as a ‘real need’ compared to some in the north.

“We need to show we are the experts in the county starting block for us to work with our partners.

“We don’t have all the funds to solve the problems, but we can talk to our partnership 
organisations.”

The data, which was gathered from both the Office of National Statistics and a survey conducted by the HCF, shows that Dacorum has the most people aged 65 and over living alone – a stat which Jonathan labelled ‘startling’.

The district, which is the third largest in the county, has three areas in the top ten 
highest barriers to housing and services – Ashridge, Watling and Tring West.

This statistic is judged using factors such as road distance, household overcrowding, homelessness and housing affordability.

Hemel’s Adeyfield East ward is the second lowest for attainment and skills in Hertfordshire, while Dacorum is the third-worst district in the county for education, skills and training at 40.4 per cent.

Homelessness in Herts has been on the increase since 2011 with marked increases in Broxbourne, Dacorum, Hertsmere and St Albans.

However, Dacorum is also home to the least deprived area in the county – Berkhamsted West – with both Berkhamsted East and Castle wards slipping into the top 10.

Berkhamsted Castle ward has the lowest health and disability deprivation, as well as the lowest employment deprivation in all of Hertfordshire. This means it has the lowest number of those who cannot work due to unemployment, sickness, disability or caring responsibilities.

To view the full report, visit www.hertscf.org.uk