The Black Caribbean community’s views on Lambeth Council services have been laid bare by a ground-breaking report launched this week (8 April).
A Council-commissioned project has revealed that, despite evidence that several Lambeth residents of Black Caribbean heritage say they are dissatisfied with the Council, many members of the community are keen to have their say – and even help deliver local services.
The Black Caribbean Research project is an in-depth piece of work that the Council commissioned last year to explore why such high levels of dissatisfaction remain within this particular part of the community.
Lambeth residents were specially recruited and trained as peer researchers for the project and they found that the most significant concerns were lack of support for young people, crime, lack of jobs and lack of affordable housing. The top four concerns were the same as in the borough as a whole, but in a different order (crime, lack of jobs, affordable housing and support for young people).
Black Caribbean residents are more willing to be involved in council services, and more likely to be involved in voluntary and community activities than Lambeth residents as a whole, according to the research findings.
However, Black Caribbean residents tended to be more dissatisfied with the Council. The main reasons were what they perceived to be poor council services, concerns over universal services affecting all residents, and “underlying discontent” over issues not directly within the Council’s remit – including discrimination and the impact of the recession.
The research report puts forward a series of recommendations; such as strengthening contact between the police and the Black Caribbean community, as well as a campaign to encourage more Black Caribbean families to get involved in fostering and adoption. At the launch of the report, Lambeth council committed to continue working closely with the community to embed these recommendations, as well as setting up a structure that would give Black Caribbean residents a stronger voice and a genuine opportunity for two-way communication with the Council.
Cllr Lorna Campbell, cabinet member for Equalities and Communities, said: “This was a major listening exercise giving residents the power to influence council decisions that affect their lives. It is vital that, as we transform Lambeth into a cooperative council, we listen to every section of our diverse community and design services that meet their expectations.”
“This research has made it clear what members of the Black Caribbean community think about the Council and want from it, but it has also allowed them to make a positive contribution to the work we do.
“We are determined to do everything we can to help this community feel valued and give them more of a say in what we do, and every opportunity to help us deliver our services.”
A full version of the report can be found here.