Latest information published by the Office for National Statistics shows that the gap in life expectancy for men in different parts of Oxford city has increased by 11 years since 2007.
The wards of North Oxford and Northfield Brook (in east Oxford, next to Blackbird Leys ward) are just six miles apart, but reveal the huge disparities between people with different levels of privilege and deprivation in the city. This reflects findings in OCF’s Oxfordshire Uncovered report that there are 15 neighbourhoods in Oxfordshire ranked among the 20% most deprived nationally.
Whilst the figures for Northfield Brook have not changed, there has been a large increase in life expectancy in North ward, which encompasses Summertown, Walton Manor and Park Town – some of the most affluent parts of the city. In this area, men can expect to live until 90, and disability-free until 74; whereas men in Northfield Brook die on average at the age of 75 (below the national average), and fall ill from 59.
Speaking in the Oxford Mail this week, city councillor Sian Taylor, who represents Northfield Brook, said: “I think it’s probably because there is a significant number of people who have got difficulties with their health, with housing, with money. If you look at the determinants of health it’s things like that [that affect people’s life expectancy].”
Through our grant funding, OCF is trying to address these inequalities. For example, the Clockhouse Project for older people at Leys CDI is located in Northfield Brook ward. Most participants find it difficult to access activities off the estate, because of cost, mobility problems, or lack of confidence. In autumn 2017 OCF contributed towards the project’s Development Worker salary costs, which means a range of activities and opportunities near to where people live can be provided.
Participants have commented: “Doing all these things has really opened up my life.”; “Since I have been coming to the Clockhouse I have reduced my anti-depressants by half … I can’t imagine how I would feel without having something to look forward to!”; “Coming to the group, it takes a lot of loneliness away. It means a LOT.”; “Now I enjoy life again, I feel like a person that means something.”