St Luke’s on Beeston Hill is a mile south of Leeds city centre at the heart of an estate that is home to around 1800 households. The residents here are wonderful! We are privileged to have families who has lived here for generations as well as new communities from many different backgrounds. As a church, we love the estate and are and are at the heart of our community.
Sadly, below the surface, our community has significant challenges. There are high levels of social deprivation, with many socio-economic indicators of poverty and decline. Life can be hard but we think our estate deserves better, and believe that long-term positive community change is possible. We decided to do some research to see what the areas of need are, and how we might respond to them.
Between 2014-2017 we did several community consultations to find out what local people really thought the most important challenges were. The questions asked helped us build a strategic picture of the needs of the area. Throughout the course of our research, through visiting and street surveys we were able to contact over 35% of the local community.
What do local people think?
The six most prevalent problems facing the area were identified by respondents as: 1) Drugs (52%) 2) Unemployment (46%) 3) Crime (42%) 4) Lack of opportunity (38%) 5) Lack of education (28%) 6) Prostitution (6%). Other problems raised include quad bikes, antisocial behaviour, violence against women, litter and dog fouling, drunkenness, anti-social behaviour, inter-racial tension. Additionally, throughout our interviews, we heard time and time again, that there is not enough to do in the community, for both children/young people and adults and the elderly, and that loneliness and isolation are very significant problems.
As a church we want to love and serve and work with those around us – over the next few years we have a great opportunity to do so!