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Making Ends Meet: Livelihoods in Cardiff: survival, coping and management

Making Ends Meet: Livelihoods in Cardiff: survival, coping and management

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Published by Oxfam
The paper summarises the findings of a study investigating the lives of 46 men and women to understand their coping strategies in the face of poverty. Based in the Splott and Riverside areas of Cardiff, this study attempts to develop sustainable livelihood approaches for improving the lives of the poor. Based on the Sustainable Livelihoods approach, interviews were carried out individually and data obtained was analysed according to each of the areas. Minority groups were compared with the majority including men and women, based on their coping strategies.
The paper summarises the findings of a study investigating the lives of 46 men and women to understand their coping strategies in the face of poverty. Based in the Splott and Riverside areas of Cardiff, this study attempts to develop sustainable livelihood approaches for improving the lives of the poor. Based on the Sustainable Livelihoods approach, interviews were carried out individually and data obtained was analysed according to each of the areas. Minority groups were compared with the majority including men and women, based on their coping strategies.

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Published by: Oxfam on Apr 12, 2011
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02/08/2013

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Livelihoods in Cardiff:
Surviving/Coping/Managing
Be Humankindh
Making Ends Meet
Research Findings
 
How do people living in poverty actually survive on a day-to-day basis, and whatcan be learnt from this to enable them to develop sustainable livelihoods?This summary of the study reveals the reality of how 46 women and men survivein Splott and Riverside, two districts close to the centre of Cardiff. Using aparticipatory qualitative method based on the ‘Sustainable Livelihoods Approach’(SLA) in both communities men and women were interviewed individually. Thisstudy builds on the 2006 research centred in Thornaby on Tees, entitled “WhenEnds Don’t Meet”.
The interviews were undertaken by two of Oxfam’s partners in Wales, the South Riverside CommunityDevelopment Centre (SRCDC) and the Splotlands Credit Union (SCU). One aim of the study was toencourage the partnership process between local community organisations; these two organisationshad not worked in partnership prior to this work. To this end, they received training in the use of theSLA and they were able to adapt the process to meet their needs during this period. The demographiccharacteristics of the 46 women and men interviewed for the study reflect each organisation’s clientgroup. Residents of Splott (an inner city ward to the east of the centre) are predominantly white workingclass with smaller pockets of minority ethnic communities including Gypsy and Traveller communities,Somalis and East Europeans. Riverside (an inner city ward to the west of the centre) hosts a large Asiancommunity, including Bangladeshi, Pakistani, Yemeni and Afghani men and women. Both areas are hometo a number of refugees and asylum seekers.
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Present policy responses to poverty in the UK focus primarily on concerns around financial resources,failing to take into account other types of resources, or the connections between different resources or lack of them. Such factors are crucial in understanding how people live, and how best to intervene inpolicy and practice terms to build up their livelihoods capacity. They may also hold clues as to whycertain women and men are unable to access formal employment. The Sustainable LivelihoodsApproach
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analyses the existing resources people have and how they can be built upon to achievea sustainable livelihood.The SLA provides reference points for analysing resources; influences (positive and/or negative),and strategies that people adopt, that impact on their ability to survive being in poverty.The approach is based on core principles that it is
I
People centred
– supporting people to achieve their own livelihood goals
I
Holistic
– recognising the ‘multiple influences, actors, strategies and outcomes in peoples lives
I
Dynamic
– seeking to understand change and how to support patterns of positive change
I
Building on strengths
– recognising everyone’s inherent potential
I
Making links between the macro and the micro
– bridging the gap between individual livesand wider policies and institutions that affect them
I
Sustainable
– in a social and institutional sense as well as economic and environmental.
Making Ends Meet
Livelihoods in Cardiff: Surviving/Coping/Managing
1.
Most minority ethnic groups have higher rates of poverty than the average for the population and rates of poverty are highest for Bangladeshis, Pakistanis and Black Africans.
2.
See DFID framework (1999)
2
 
In general, the resources that seemed to have contributed most to someone improving their employabilitywere as follows:
I
Human
– skills in community development, small business set-up and the ability to take vocationalcourses.
I
Social
– around family provision of loans and childcare.
I
Public
– in the form of regular transport to and from employment locations.
I
Physical
– a home in a good state of repair with enough room to accommodate the family, and publictransport to enable access to work places.
As this study specifically targeted people experiencing poverty, it is no surprise that for the respondentsinterviewed, the financial resources are the weakest aspect of the livelihoods pictureAnother strength of the approach is that by identifying movement, both negative and positive, betweensets of resources, useful lessons can be extracted regarding solutions to deprivation. These have beendescribed as “ladders” (positive movement) and “shocks” (negative movement).In the next section, we summarise our key observations and main findings within each of the resource areas.Although this study provided a snapshot of the lives of 46 people in two inner city districts of Cardiff, it hasproduced qualitative data otherwise difficult to obtain. Such data is key to complementing the statisticalinformation that already exists about levels of employment and benefit take-up.The study found that:
I
Although paid work is a fundamental means of maintaining a sustainable livelihood, there are manyother social, human and financial factors that play important roles in contributing to the livelihoodsof people on low incomes.
I
The study also identified a vicious circle of depression, debt and living on benefits into which women,in particular, seemed to fall, and certain shocks or triggers into this situation.
The picture of sustainablelivelihoods in Splott and Riverside
Livelihoods Framework
VulnerabilitiesShocksTrendsChangesPoliciesInstitutionsProcessesRESOURCESLIVELIHOODSTRATEGIES
P  u  b  l   i   c  
Human
Physical
S  i  l  
Financial
OUTCOMEOUTCOMEOUTCOME
The use of the sustainable approach
Adaptation of DfID Sustainable Livelihoods Framework
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