The Upper Springfield Whiterock area of West Belfast area lies at the foot of the BlackMountain and consists of three areas, Greater New Barnsley, Greater Ballymurphy and Greater Turf Lodge .There are 9 residential areas which are:- Ballymurphy, Dermott Hill, New Barnsley, Moyard, Sliabh Dubh, Springfield Park, Springhill, Turf Lodge and Westrock/Whiterock area.
With a population of just under 12,000 the area experiences unprecedented levels of deprivation, spanning generations, this alongside the impact of the conflict all contribute … .
The area has a very vibrant community with a rich history of community development and achievement and a strong community infrastructure.
The Upper Springfield Whiterock Neighbourhood Renewal Area
The map below indicates the boundaries by which the Upper Springfield- Whiterock NRA is encapsulated, it stretches from the Monagh bypass to the Springmartin Road, and along the Whiterock Road to the Falls Road at Beechmount Drive.
Source: NINIS website
Multiple Deprivation Measures 2010
In the recent multiple deprivation measures published in June 2010, the Upper Springfield Whiterock Neighbourhood Renewal Area suffers from extensive deprivation. The Super Output areas of Whiterock 2 and 3 rank No. 1 and 2 most deprived in Northern Ireland out of a total of 100 Super Output areas, whilst Upper Springfield Super Output area 3 ranks numbers 11 in terms of most deprived out of a total of 100.
In addition to the multiple deprivation indicators provided above, socio-economic data from the 2001 census points to an area which is deprived and lagging behind the Northern Ireland average at a range of levels. Excerpts of this data is summarised below:
- The Upper Springfield/Whiterock area has a significantly younger population than the Northern Ireland average with 32% of the local population under 16 years in comparison to 23.6% for the Northern Ireland average.
- 29.5% of the population in the area are classified as suffering from a long-term limiting illness; again this figure is substantially higher than the Northern Ireland average of 29.5%.
- 19% of people in the area reported that their general health was not good, which compares with a Northern Ireland average of 10.7% for this indicator.
- 38.3% of households in the area are owner occupied in comparison to an average of 69.6% for Northern Ireland as a whole.
- 57% of the population is economically inactive, in comparison to a Northern Ireland average of 37.7%.
- 10% of the population in the area is unemployed in comparison to a Northern Ireland average of 4.1% of the population being unemployed.
- 62.7% of the population between the ages of 16 years and 74 years have no qualifications; this figure is very high when compared with the Northern Ireland average for the same age groupings, which is 41.6%.
- The age bracket with the greatest disparity with the Northern Ireland average in terms of educational attainment is the 20 to 29 years group, with a figure of 33.6% for the Upper Springfield/Whiterock area in comparison to a Northern Ireland average of 13.8%.
In the both MDM 2005 and MDM 2010, all of the SOAs within the Upper Springfield Whiterock NRA rank within the top 10% of deprivation .Most indicators show that no measureable change has occurred, while others show a slight improvement. Most worrying though, is that some indicators show a worsening of conditions that measure deprivation levels. These are most visible in the domains of Employment, Income Deprivation, and Health Deprivation.
The socio-economic statistics above provide an insight into an area of Belfast where the community is experiencing very significant levels of deprivation across a range of levels and indicators, and in comparison to the overall statistics for Northern Ireland.