Sinking and Swimming: Understanding Britains Unmet Needs

The Young Foundation ( produced a report in December 2009 called “Sinking and Swimming: Understanding Britains Unmet Needs”. This is a study of who is sinking and who is swimming in Britain. Since the study, I’m sure things have even become worse for many. The report has an enormous amount to offer and contribute in our thinking, to identify and move towards solutions, to understand the many needs and unmet needs in a complex society for societal challenges.

There were numerous participants in the research team, in the advisors and in participating organizations that has since the report led onto a series of detailed case studies, exploring some of the issues further. There are acute needs across Britain and this report summaries the real challenges that are needed to be faced.

This link takes you to the download page:

I provide a number of points from this report for making the case on why should we take the time to read this. It is somewhat long, actually a very detailed report but you can initially view the reports summary here as well. Copyright resides with the Young Foundation.

Critical points made that I feel have even more resonance today:

* Within this research it “attempts to illuminate these intricate complexities and links, all in the interest of what ‘unmet needs’ mean for people, groups and areas with problems”.

* The study provides an overview of where the most acute needs are in Britain today, and which needs may become more pressing in the future.

* It comments upon :”the very poorest have seen their living standards stagnate or even decline. Over the last year(s) the recession has raised unemployment, put downward pressure on incomes and will soon be followed by sharp cuts in public spending which are likely to affect the poorest most”.

* This is a detailed study of where the most acute needs are in Britain today, “of why some people can cope with shocks and setbacks and others can’t, and of the implications for policy and public action”

*Within the report they “look not just at the structural causes of needs, but also at patterns of resilience, abilities to seek and find help, and the informal support structures in families and communities that are often invisible to governments”

* One of the important observations is in “past recessions often made people more aware of the needs of others and more willing to share their good fortune with others suffering bad luck” I wonder if this will this be the case this time around as a global recession bites into everyone’s lives?

As we face even more turbulent global times, this report might offer thoughts on ways we can help take care for each other, and, as they conclude in the report “in a small way, help us as a society to become more resilient in the face of adversity.”

Firstly we do have to recognize the unmet needs or pressing needs, it is from this point innovation can play its part in contributing new solutions


About @paul4innovating

Connecting the value of innovation
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