Unique snapshot of Ipswich community

IPSWICH is becoming a town of two halves, with high-earning professionals setting themselves up in one half of town and the low-skilled and unemployed making up the other.

IPSWICH is becoming a town of two halves, with high-earning professionals setting themselves up in one half of town and the low-skilled and unemployed making up the other.

That is one of the findings of the most in-depth research ever conducted in the town.

Researchers from University Campus Suffolk spent six months carrying out the first study of its kind in the UK to delve deep into the lives of people in each of the borough's 16 wards.

Their study, the Ipswich Ward Community Profile, found:


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Life expectancy for men is highest in the well-off Bixley and Castle Hill wards while for women it is highest in Bixley and Stoke Park

Bridge and Priory Heath wards are the worst for teenage pregnancy rates

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Burglaries are highest in Bridge ward

Bixley children perform best at GCSE level, while Gainsborough and Sprites wards score worst for gaining extra qualifications

Westgate has the highest level of unemployment in Ipswich

The study was put together for the Local Strategic Partnership, a grouping of agencies ranging from Ipswich Borough Council and Suffolk County Council to Suffolk police and health agencies.

The information the researchers from the university's CREATE Research Centre gathered will be used to bolster applications for funding to tackle problems linked to particular areas, such as crime reduction schemes or health projects, and to help decide where resources should be allocated.

Dr Will Thomas, a senior research associate who worked on the project, said: “We started off by trying to define what types of information we wanted to get. We set about trying to get as much of that information about the wards as we could.

“The thing that it's really going to be useful for is helping to explain why decisions are made as they are.”

The report's authors found a comparatively affluent section of town developing in the central and eastern wards where higher levels of employment were matched with higher salaries and higher skills, while in the north, west and south the opposite was the case.

Dr Thomas said: “When you look at Ipswich we did see the emergence of two distinct areas. You've got an area of the town where you get more professionals living and an area where there are low-skilled occupations.”

Liz Harsant, leader of Ipswich Borough Council and chairman of the one-ipswich Local Strategic Partnership welcomed the research.

She said: “Detailed data such as this provides a fascinating insight into our town and is essential for planning the work that the one-ipswich partnership does.”

What do you think of the area where you live? Have the researchers summed it up right? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

IPSWICH'S estimated 130,000-strong population lives in a 39square kilometre area.

The University Campus Suffolk researchers found that 21per cent of those people were employed in the public administration and education sectors, with 19pc working in retail and 16 per cent employed in the business and financial services sectors.

The lowest skilled workers were found to live in Whitehouse, Gipping, Sprites, Gainsborough and Priory Heath wards.

The researchers also found:

Westgate ward has more than twice the town average for black and ethnic minority groups (12.9pc)

More people in north-west Ipswich (Whitton and Whitehouse) and in Sprites ward work in retail than anywhere else in the town.

There is more income deprivation in Priory Heath, Gainsborough and Gipping wards and most children in income-deprived families live in these wards and Whitton and Stoke Park

The highest proportion of youngsters who go on to Higher Education live in Bixley, St Margaret's, Castle Hill and Rushmere

Burglaries, measured per 10,000 population, were highest in Holywells, Gipping, Stoke Park, Alexandra, Bridge and Westgate wards

Alexandra ward has a high proportion of people living alone and a high proportion of younger people

More homes are being built in Bridge, Holywells and Priory Heath, reflecting the regeneration of the waterfront and in Alexandra ward

The worst places for thefts from a motor vehicle are Gipping, Alexandra, Holywells and Priory Heath

GIPPING ward stood out in the Ipswich Ward Community Profile as the town's most deprived ward.

The ward was found to have a high unemployment rate and had the highest overall level of crime.

But Jackie Shears, the minister at the Triangle Church on the Triangle Estate, today said life in Gipping wasn't all bad.

“There is lots of place for improvement on the Triangle Estate but it's not an unhappy place to live,” she said.

“There are a lot of very happy people there.”

However Mrs Shears, who have lived on the estate for the past four-and-a-half years, said ingrained social issues, such as long-term unemployment, were being passed down from generation-to-generation.

“There are families who have never worked and that's part of the culture,” she said.

“It all depends on your expectations.

“I think we have glimpses of how things could be and that's encouraging.

“It's an amazing place to be. It's a real privilege to work there, we've had quite positive results.

“There were very few people, until about the last year, who were doing anything for the area.”

This is what the researchers found about the area where you live:

Alexandra:

Ranks high for 16-44-year-olds but low for people over 65 and children under 15

High number of young, single people living alone

Bixley

Ipswich's most well-off ward - dominated by employment in public administration and education

Most residents employed in relatively high-waged and high-skilled jobs

Low crime rate in comparison to the rest of Ipswich

Bridge

More people employed in the lower-paid and lower-skilled occupations

20per cent of the ward living in a pocket of deprivation

The reports authors say Bridge ward has “significant” problems with the level of crime. It rates as the worst ward for burglaries and other areas highlighted for concern were criminal damage and wounding.

Castle Hill

Low unemployment and little deprivation means Castle Hill performs well against economic indicators

Relatively low crime rate and “generally healthy” population with a higher than average life expectancy

Gainsborough

Employment is dominated by manufacturing, retail and public administration and education

There is also a dominance of low-waged and low-skilled jobs

Primary school results among the weakest in Ipswich

Crime rates are “neither exceptionally high or low” with rates following the Ipswich average in most cases.

Gipping

Against most measures, Gipping is the most deprived ward in Ipswich

Unemployment listed as a “major problem” and there are significant pockets of deprivation

Higher than average employment in occupations associated with low wages and with low levels of skills

Has the worst level of overall crime and is the worst ranked for vehicle crime

Below average life expectancy for both females and males

Holywells

Population: 6,000

Most people employed in service industries and in medium and high skilled occupations

Higher than average wage and skill levels

Performs badly in vehicle crime figures and incidence of stolen bicycles

Priory Heath

High proportion of young families with children

Low skills and qualification levels reflect poor achievement at both primary and secondary schools in the ward

Worse than average crime rates across most types of crime

Higher than average teenage conception rate

Rushmere

More likely to be employed in jobs which are both relatively highly paid and which require medium or high level skills

Crime rate significantly below the Ipswich average

Sprites

Employment dominated by manufacturing, construction and retail

Crime rates generally low

St John's

High proportion of homes with one occupier

Low unemployment and low levels of deprivation

Overall rates of crime low

Below average life expectancy for females

St Margaret's

Older than average population

Dominance of public administration and business services sectors with high rates of professionals and senior management

Entrance rate to higher education for young people higher than any other ward

Crime rates generally low, but ranks third for burglaries and thefts from a motor vehicle

Stoke Park

No clear population structure suggests the ward may be undergoing a transformation

Residents more likely to be employed in lower wage levels with low or medium level skills

Among the worst for thefts of a motor vehicle and vehicle interference, but otherwise generally average levels of crime

Westgate

High proportion of one-person households

High proportion of people in high-skill high-wage jobs

However the ward has the highest levels of unemployment in Ipswich

Crime is high however the town centre position of the ward is listed as a main reason for this, as well as its high population density

Whitehouse

Slightly younger than average population

Occupations focus on practical and hands-on skills

Young people among the least likely to enter higher education

One of the worst rates for car theft and theft from a person but otherwise crime rates only slightly higher than the average

Whitton

High proportion of part-time workers

Low overall crime rate

Good levels of overall health

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