Belfast Telegraph

New figures highlight social issues in north of city

By Lauren Harte

Nearly half (48%) of school leavers in north Belfast are not achieving the key benchmark of five or more GCSEs at A*-C, including English and Maths.

According to The Detail website, almost 44% of working age adults (25-64) living in the area have no or low levels of qualification.

Alongside low educational outcomes, other serious problems blighting the area include a high rate of suicide, with 441 people having taken their own life over 20 years. They made up almost 10% of the total 4,612 suicides recorded across Northern Ireland from 1997 to 2016.

Meanwhile, a third of children (8,400) in the area are living in poverty, according to the End Child Poverty campaign.

North Belfast was also found to have the highest cancer incidence rate of 952 cases of cancer per 100,000 of the population. Between 2012 and 2016, an average of 842 cancers were diagnosed there each year, according to the NI Cancer Registry.

The area also tops the list for the highest rate of anti-social behaviour incidents at 45 per 1,000 of the population, according to the Multiple Deprivation Measures' crime and disorder figures.

The findings come as Ashton Community Trust and suicide prevention charity Lighthouse launched an 'appreciative inquiry' process, aimed at promoting transformational change.

It will focus on positive dialogue and a task group will be set up to take work forward. Ashton Community Trust chair Richard O'Rawe said the statistics show, in very stark terms, the difficulties in this part of Belfast.

Belfast Telegraph

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