Austerity in a disadvantaged West Midlands neighbourhood: Everyday experiences of families and family support professionals

This article examines everyday effects of austerity in Kingshurst – a disadvantaged urban neighbourhood in the West Midlands. It draws on qualitative data gathered from local families with children, and public and third sector professionals working in the area in family support services. While some of the issues raised are common to other disadvantaged communities across the UK, we recognise that austerity is experienced in specific socio-spatial contexts: in this case, Kingshurst’s circumstance of deprivation within a local authority borough that (as a whole) is above averagely affluent. This shaped the ways that residents and professionals framed the disadvantage they encountered in their everyday lives and work, in particular strengthening understandings of austerity as unfairly and unevenly experienced on the bases of geography and social class, and highlighting territorial stigma towards the neighbourhood by professionals and decision-makers which impeded residents’ engagement with the family support services available to them locally.

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