Social Exclusion

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How can an understanding of social exclusion contribute to the development of healthy communities?

My understanding of social exclusion is the combination of social and material problems, spoiling people in such a devastating way that they are unable to fully participate in the community in which they live. (unit 12, p117)

I consider a healthy community to be a safe, clean and pleasant place to live and work with opportunities for relaxation and recreation. There should be safe places for children to learn and play, amenities for people to meet and socialise. Care should be accessible to all of the community. Not only is the physical environment important but also the people who live and work there are, they should have the information, skills and resources to protect or promote their health and well being. (unit 12,pp.115-116)

Social exclusion and a healthy community are intertwined, an understanding of the whole affect of exclusion, helps find new ways of working with sustainable regeneration programmes that can restore ailing communities.

Poverty is interlinked with educational achievement, unemployment, poor housing and ill health. Poverty is the main cause of social exclusion. Struggling to live on benefits has a crippling negative impact on critical aspects of life. The quality of life diminishes for all the family.

Social exclusion is wide spread, in areas where the manufacturing industry has declined, communities have suffered and become increasingly unhealthy. Continuing social change can mean communities progressively deteriorating. Low educational achievement, inappropriate work skills and poor housing can cause apathy, like a hereditary disease, passing from one generation to the next.

Many generations of families are surviving on benefits. Mr T____ worked in the wool industry, due to its decline and his ill health, has not worked for nearly thirty years. His daughter, a widow and lone parent, has been his full time carer and suffers from depression. His granddaughter, a drug addict, is also a lone parent due to her ex-partners violence. Her drug habit is funded by crime. At school, her children are low achievers and are often excluded for bad behaviour. 4 generations of one family have poor mental and physical health.

"Children growing up poor are more likely to have learning difficulties, to drop out of school to use drugs, to commit crimes, to be unemployed to become pregnant at an early age, and to go on to live lives that involve higher levels of morbidity and morality..." (unit 12, p.132)

If public spending on education, training, housing and health facilities is reduced, the community progressively deteriorates. The lack of employable work skills, low school achievement and poor housing lowers aspirations and increases apathy, almost contagiously, spreading from house to house and street by street. Those who have the skills and ability leave the area, as do businesses, to go to areas that are more prosperous.

In the neighbourhood that Mr T____ lives, much of the property is in a sate of disrepair. There is a lack of affordable housing to rent or buy and homelessness is common. Anti-social behaviour is a problem, as is drug abuse and crime.

The home and its surroundings are important to those who have mobility restrictions through poverty, caring responsibilities, age or impairment. Lack of amenities and leisure facilities affect the social network of a community. Inadequate transport has a major impact on access to amenities. Many become isolated, their social network recedes, and ill health is not adequately treated.

Lack of local NHS dentists are a problem for many people. Miss K____ has to take 2 buses to register with a dentist, as she has to take her children with her it is virtually impossible to make a convenient time without the children missing school. Mrs S____ has to book a taxi to and from any appointments at her local health centre....
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