The challenge of deprivation
The parish of St Richard's encompasses Hanworth south of the A316 and parts of north Hampton - a total of 5890 people. It contains a mixture of privately owned and social housing, two schools, a doctor's surgery but no other meeting spaces open to the general public or places of worship.
The biggest challenge to the people of the parish comes from deprivation in a variety of forms. Church Urban Fund ranks the parish nationally as 1,872 out of 12,606 parishes in England, where 1 is the most deprived, placing the parish in the 15% most deprived communities in England.
The most significant poverty-related issues in this parish are the high rates of child poverty (30%) and lone parenthood (29%) - both of which are among the highest in the country. 29% of the population is living in social housing, many have problems accessing housing, and 27% of working age adults have no qualifications, far below the national average. Pensioner poverty in this parish is also higher than average (16%).
In addition to Hanworth suffering the effects of deprivation, it is also an area without suitable provision of services or other places in which community groups can meet. For these reasons, St Richard's Church has a vision to work with its community to overcome the causes and consequences of deprivation, and to be a catalyst and resource for greater community cohesion.
Partnership in action
One exciting example of St Richard's commitment to working in partnership with the local community came in January 2015 as our previous local community primary school became St Richard's CE Primary School.
The decision made by school Governors and the local authority to close the old school and reopen as a volunatry aided Church of England school demonstates the positive impact the church can have in its community as well as the trust local people have in St Richard's.
This change is providing exciting new opportunites for the church to support the school and to work with the school's families.