Education is the key to bringing communities out of poverty

Bainsford and Langlees has once again been named as one of Scotland's most deprived areas. Picture: Michael Gillen
Bainsford and Langlees has once again been named as one of Scotland's most deprived areas. Picture: Michael Gillen

The Bainsford and Langlees area has once again been recognised as one of Scotland’s most deprived areas according to the latest figures.

The Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation (SIMD) publication ranks around 7000 small areas covering the length and breadth of Scotland from most to the least deprived.

The opening of the refurbished waste ground in Seaforth Road, Langlees, by community group BULB in 2014. Picture: Michael Gillen

The opening of the refurbished waste ground in Seaforth Road, Langlees, by community group BULB in 2014. Picture: Michael Gillen

Communities are ranked on access to services and facilities, crime statistics, employment and income, health and housing.

The index ranks areas from 1 (the poorest) to 6976 (the most affluent). Bainsford and Langlees in the Falkirk North constituency is the district’s most poverty-stricken area with a score of just 80 on the poverty scale. Stirling estate the Raploch – stigmatised as one of the country’s roughest areas – scored 81.

Outside of Scotland’s cities, Bainsford and Langlees is in top 30 most deprived communities and the top five per cent.

Falkirk North Councillor Craig R Martin said: “These stats don’t tell the whole picture. Langlees and Bainsford have some of the most dedicated and hardworking community activists in the whole of Falkirk who work tirelessly to improve the area.

“For example, a new football team, Coo Park United, has been set up and run by parents, a new community garden has been created by a group of parents, the family fun group ran a series of events for pre-school kids over the summer and a few years ago a group of mums transformed the land next to Langlees shop by doing the work themselves with help from the wider community.

“There is no easy answer, for me it’s about creating learning experiences, investing in education and ultimately creating more jobs. Only when people have well paid, stable jobs will we create a fairer society.”

“We also need well-funded high quality public services, however, right now we have a Tory government focused on austerity and getting out of Europe and an SNP Scottish government focused on getting out of the UK and simply passing on Tory cuts.”

SNP councillor Cecil Meiklejohn agreed that education is the most effective way to bring areas out of poverty.

She said: “In light of Bainsford and Langlees continuing to be considered one of the worst areas of Falkirk according the Social Index of Multiple Deprivation, I welcome the Scottish Government additional funds to help improve attainment for Langlees Primary. This investment, at an early stage of Children’s’ education, will help to enable better outcomes as they move through their informative years and improve their chances in accessing further education and entry in to the employment market.”

Falkirk Council say it is committed to tackling inequality across the district.

A council spokesperson said: “We’re always looking at how we tackle inequality across all our communities and the information we get from the SIMD profiles along with many other sources helps us plan ahead.

“This involves working with our elected members as well as communities themselves and community planning partners that deliver important services and support locally. As we progress with this we can create better ways of helping to tackle inequalities in all our communities.”

Tackling poverty

Residents in Bainsford and Langlees are trying to turn the fortunes of their community around through local groups and events.

Back in 2014 BULB (Brighten Up Langlees and Bainsford turned a piece of wasteland next to the shop in Seaforth Road into a community space.

Other initiatives include events at the Love and Kisses sculpture at Langlees Community Woodland. The successful Dawson Bike Club was also formed in the area giving employment skills to unemployed people.

According to the SIMd stats, part of the Bowhouse area in Grangemouth is also in the top

Parts of other areas in the top five per cent were in Bowhouse (Grangemouth), Dunipace and Camelon East. In the top 10 per cent of deprived areas were another three parts of Bainsford and Langlees; Middlefield; Camelon East; Maddiston and Rumford; and Grangemouth town centre and Kersiebank.

The top 20 per cent areas in Stenhousemuir West; Grahamston; town centre and Callendar Park; Camelon West; Hallglen and Glen Village; Laurieston and Westquarter; Bowhouse; and Kinneil in Bo’ness.

The Scottish Government says tackling poverty is a “long-term” challenge.

Communities Secretary Angela Constance said: “The SIMD is important – and widely used in both the public and third sectors – because it clearly sets out where the most deprived areas in Scotland are, so we can ensure public funding, policies and services can be targeted most effectively.

“While changes in methodology mean it’s not possible to compare directly with previous years, SIMD is always a good reminder of why Scotland needs a government committed to tackling deep seated deprivation, poverty and inequalities.

In the face of continuing UK Government welfare cuts, an austerity agenda and attempts to take Scotland out of Europe, this will continue to be a long-term challenge.”