Why do accidents happen when gardening? There are four main reasons: people take shortcuts, a lack of skill or training to ensure that the job is done safely, ignorance of potential risks, lack of planning and preparation. It’s clear, prevention is key to avoiding both small and catastrophic accidents. These same reasons apply in other fields too, which I was reminded of when reading ‘A quiet crisis: local government spending on disadvantage’ a research report, commissioned by The Lloyds Bank Foundation, undertaken by The New Policy Institute.
Adam Tinson, Head of Research, New Policy Institute, said: “This research shows how councils have been put in a position where they have to cut preventive services to maintain crisis provision.”
To manage, councils have had to shift away from preventive spending towards crisis spending. For example, there has been a 46% reduction in spending on preventing homelessness, while spending on homelessness crisis support has increased by 58%, primarily through the cost of providing temporary accommodation. It would seem that it’s the private housing providers that have benefited most from this shift in funding priorities.
Paul Streets, Chief Executive of Lloyds Bank Foundation, said of the reports findings: “Councils have been trying to do more with less for some years, but the tipping point is increasingly close with deprived areas hit hardest. It cannot be right that the services you get if you are homeless or have a learning difficulty are dependent on the post-code lottery of the ability of your council to raise local taxes… Local charities are doing their best to help councils pick up the pieces but as a country, we can and must do better than this.“
As a local charity we have supported circa 7,000 people over our ten years. The areas that we work in are ranked amongst the bottom 7% in the latest Index of Multiple Deprivation (IMD). Many of the people we engage with have been struggling with multiple complex needs and have often been relegated to the edge of society. We witness the results of a lack of prevention in people’s lives, yet provide a role in preventing and reversing further dislocation. We know from the independent Social Profit report 2016 that for every £1 invested in the Pennine Lancashire Community Farm, a total of £6.86 of Social Profit is created. We know too that our efforts require support from multiple partners, including the local authorities, if we are are to help bring people together, protect and enhance people’s well-being, and promote economic resilience.
As gardeners we have learnt that in planning it is essential to invest in the soil, to keep it drained, to add organic matter, or invite the risk of soil erosion and crop failures.
The summary of the report can be found here.