At the heart of Blackburn
One Voice seeks to improve the social and economic wellbeing of some of the most deprived communities in Blackburn with Darwen. We deliver programmes of work aimed at improving the physical and mental health of residents of the borough alongside a strong programme of activities which instil leadership skills and abilities amongst both young people and women. We provide opportunities for children and women to thrive and flourish through our provision of inclusive sports, arts and wellbeing activities on offer every week of the year.
Our activities benefit primarily residents from some of the most deprived wards in the borough and predominantly from South Asian backgrounds. We work with the community in which our organisation is based, mainly in Bastwell ward which was recently identified as experiencing the highest levels of child poverty in England. Our health programmes engage residents of all ages, particularly those with long term conditions and mental health issues. Our social cohesion and leadership activities engage young people from 5 upwards and women of all ages.
One Voice Blackburn is based in Bastwell which has recently been identified in the study for End Child Poverty Coalition as the ward with highest level of child poverty in England, with two in every three children estimated to be living in child poverty. Our organisation provides social activities for children and young people from Bastwell and the surrounding areas of Wensley Fold, Audley Range, Shear Brow and Little Harwood. These areas experience significant levels of deprivation and associated health inequalities, alongside high levels of unemployment and poor quality overcrowded housing. Child obesity is also an issue in this area – by the time children reach the end of primary school, the obesity rate (20.3%) is higher than the Borough (18.5%) and national (19.1%) rate. In parts of Bastwell and Little Harwood it reaches one in four children (25%).
Poor educational attainment and high anti-social activity are prevalent amongst teenagers in the area, with its lack of adequate sporting and social facilities and many lead chaotic lives and experience low self esteem and confidence. There is a serious lack of aspiration amongst our young people and they lack the skills, self-belief and personal strategies to achieve their full potential.