Poverty Amongst Plenty
Seminar Discusses the Challenges of Measuring Deprivation and Poverty In Rural Areas
Rural Community Network held a very successful seminar in Parliament Buildings on Wednesday 13th December to discuss the challenges of measuring deprivation and poverty in rural communities and exploring the implications for government policy. The event was sponsored by the Carnegie UK Trust as part of their Carnegie Challenge Fund programme.
Kate Clifford Organisational and Development Manager with RCN said:
“RCN has long been interested in the measurement of deprivation and poverty in rural communities. The Northern Ireland Multiple Deprivation Measure (NIMDM) is the standard measure of deprivation in NI, used by policy makers and community groups alike. The NIMDM identifies areas with high concentrations of deprivation such as inner city areas and large housing estates, where deprived households are often located closely together. It is much more difficult to identify rural poverty and deprivation where deprived households are scattered amongst households that are better off. This means that policies designed to tackle deprivation and poverty can miss out rural households.”
“We know that rural communities are suffering through this recession; with high numbers of people emigrating, many people facing unemployment and under-employment, the closure of local services and facilities and more shockingly a growing number of emergency food banks opening in many of our market towns. RCN believes that to tackle disadvantage effectively and to make best use of limited resources the NI Assembly, funders and policy makers need a more accurate picture of where deprivation and poverty are located and a greater understanding of how they are exhibited differently in rural communities”.
RCN will be encouraging MLAs and policy makers to consider how poverty and deprivation are distributed differently in rural communities and we will be asking them to develop policies to tackle these issues in a rurally sensitive way.
The seminar heard from Dr David Marshall, head of Demographic Statistics in the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency who explained how the NIMDM 2010 had been constructed. Dr Trutz Haase spoke about his work in successfully constructing the area based deprivation indices in the Republic of Ireland that are used across Government departments.
The NIMDM is due to be reviewed in 2014, subject to Ministerial approval and RCN believes that the issue of the accurate identification of rural deprivation and rural poverty needs to be addressed as part of that review.