Why Bettws?

What is Bettws?

Bettws is a housing estate north of Newport built in the 1960s surrounded by woodlands and fields. The M4 Motorway creates a barrier between Bettws and the rest of the city. Physically Bettws sits on a hill and the main residential community is served by a circular ring road (Monnow Way) with one main connecting road. Whilst being close to the city and the services that are offered, there is a detachment. You go ‘to’ Bettws rather than ‘through’ Bettws, and local residents often refer to living ‘on’ Bettws rather than ‘in’ Bettws. As such, despite being in an urban area, there is a feeling of isolation and lack of connection to the wider area for residents and service-providers.

The population is now around 8000 people in around 3500 homes – mostly semi-detached houses with some walk-up blocks of flats.

Why was Bettws chosen as an Early Learning Community demonstration project?

Bettws was determined as the most appropriate community to deliver this ‘deep dive’ and to focus the theory of change and local strategic plan’s activities for a number of reasons:

  • Bettws is a recognised area of disadvantage with young people facing inequalities – compared to national benchmarks – across a breadth of indicators of disadvantage
  • Save the Children’s networks and partners in Bettws offered the opportunity for a high level of buy in for the project
  • The nature of the community in Bettws – with many families having multi-generations living in Bettws – provides a different context to other demonstration Early Learning Communities in the UK to contribute to national learning
  • As a community, Bettws has fairly identifiable boundaries enabling the project to have a clear sphere of influence.
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Working in Bettws – what sort of information do we need?

There are many types of data we use to help us understand strengths and needs of families in Bettws and how our work is impacting on families in poverty.

This includes but is not limited to:

  • Quantitative data on needs and outcomes for children and families in Bettws (e.g. education, health, housing, finance and employment) drawn from sources like the Census, DWP Claimant Counts, school league tables, etc.
  • Family views and experiences through focus groups, 1:1 interviews, surveys, workshops, storytelling and creative play
  • Professionals’ views and experiences through focus groups, 1:1 and group interviews, workshops, communities of practice sessions
  • Desk research into best practice in Bettws and elsewhere

As our Early Learning Community develops, we are using data and insights every day to:

  • Understand needs and strengths of families and the system in Bettws
  • Shape interventions and ways of working
  • Understand the impact our activity has at child and family level and at systems level
  • Share with partners to influence policy and practice at all levels
  • Contribute to wider learning projects

What can these data sources tell us about Bettws?

The Bettws area is categorised as one of the poorest areas of Wales, for example:

  • Three of Bettws Ward’s Small Areas (SOAs) are within the top 10% for deprivation
  • The proportion of children living in low-income families is above the Wales average (20.5%) and in two super output areas in Bettws the rates reach over 40%, a figure twice the Welsh average
  • Benefit claimant rates are twice the Newport average
  • 40% adults say they have no qualifications
  • Foodbank referrals have been increasing steadily since the first lockdown in March 2020 as many working people were furloughed (on 80% of their pay) or laid off
  • 43% of housing is social rented from housing associations such as Newport City Homes, United Welsh and Pobl
  • Over 10% of people report their health as bad or very bad (compared with 7% in wider Newport)

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