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Emerging social need

Foresight to enhance existing intelligence
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Our Foresight function has been designed to enhance our existing knowledge and country/local intelligence, sitting alongside our other methods of intelligence gathering. We use this information to get ahead of the curve in identifying needs that are likely to intensify in the future, and to generate debate and action to inform the planning of our programmes and our corporate direction.

We have commissioned Trajectory to help us identify current and future trends in social need. They began their work in Autumn 2013 and it will continue until early 2017.

In January 2014, Trajectory produced our first Foresight report which provided an overview of 10 topics. Over the next few years, we will be taking a more in-depth look at each of these topics in the form of quarterly presentations. You can find an overview of our latest information on this page. For more detailed information, you can download the slides listed under Publications

June 2016 – Communities in the UK (report 10)

This report analyses the trends shaping communities across the UK. Communities are central to many wider trends in society, and subject to change from demographic, social, economic and technological drivers.

The report is split into two sections:

  • The first is an overview of trends at a macro level, that are driving community changes across the UK.
  • The second explores a number of different communities across the UK, looking at specific local trends and understanding what makes communities good.

Find out more about Communities in the UK in our report slides


March 2016 – Veterans (report 9)

This report explores issues and emerging needs related to Veterans in the UK. Specifically:

  • Mental Health
  • Physical Health
  • Criminality
  • Alcohol Misuse
  • Unemployment
  • Housing Needs

Find out more about Veterans in our report slides


October 2015 - Prevention in 2015 (report 8)

Available upon request


August 2015 – Ageing (report 7)

The population of the UK is set to increase significantly over the next decade, with much of this growth driven by an ageing population and sustained increases in the number of people over 65 years old. Our seventh report covers ageing and includes:

  • The national picture
    • Demographic context
    • Income, pensions and retirement
    • Health
  • Loneliness
  • Dementia
  • Older carers
  • Volunteering
  • Digital inclusion

Find out more about Ageing in our report slides


April 2015 - Community cohesion (report 6)

Community cohesion is a broad issue, affecting both the way we approach society and the communities in which we live. This report examines the following issues:

  • Diverse Britain and race relations.
  • Crime and safety.
  • 'No such thing as society': community reliance.
  • The way we live: communities and isolation.

Find out more about community cohesion in our report slides


December 2014 - Poverty and resilience (report 5)

  • As the cost of living rises, the material deprivation threshold also rises - meaning that millions are living on insufficient incomes.
  • Region has a significant, and at times conflicting impact on the extend and impact of poverty. London, for example, has the lowest levels of low pay and the most positive growth forecasts for the next 5 years - but high housing costs mean millions live below the poverty line.
  • The poverty premium ensures that the impact of poverty is multifaceted, and is a cycle of deprivation rather than a single impact.

Find out more about poverty and resilience in our report slides

September 2014 - Childhood and education (report 4)

  • By 2018 we will have a shortfall of nearly 500,000 school places - with nearly a quarter of these in London.
  • The cost of raising a child (until 21 years of age) has doubled over the last decade, with families in the South West seeing the biggest rise (78%).
  • Boys begin to lag behind girls from the age of 5, which is reflected in their numeracy and literacy skills and continues to be present throughout their entire education.

Find out more about childhood and education in our report slides


June 2014 - Jobs and skills / Poverty and inequality (report 3)

Jobs and Skills

  • Since the outset of the downturn, companies going out business has been the main cause of job destruction (with fewer businesses entering the market).
  • Optimism is increasing in the private sector, but the public sector expect to continue to decline.
  • Skills shortages are a particular issue in Scotland.
  • Across the UK, health and care (and related areas) are the jobs most difficult to fill.

Poverty and Inequality

The richest and poorest sections of society have been most significantly affected by changes in tax and welfare spending.

  • Despite recent growth, wages have declined in value and are currently below 2003 levels.
  • After growing very slowly in 2011, disposable income grew more strongly in 2012 across the UK.

Find out more about Jobs and skills and Poverty and inequality in our report slides


April 2014 - Most in Need (report 2)

Using the areas of need identified by the Young Foundation in their 2009 study of Britain’s needs, Sinking and Swimming, our second report focuses on:

Material and Physical Needs
Income polarisation will see the gap between poorest and the rest of society widen.

Care Needs
Many households will not be able to afford to improve their nutrition and childhood obesity is set to rise.

Needs for Capabilities
The worst affected within the ‘lost generation’ of young people are unlikely to recover from the setback during the downturn and will continue to be affected throughout their working life.

Psychological Needs
Incidents of Mental Health are set to increase.

Find out more about Most in Need in our report slides


January 2014 (Report 1)

In January 2014, Trajectory provided an overview of 10 areas of interest for the Fund. We will be looking at these themes in more detail over the nest few years through quarterly updates.

Below provides general information on each theme as detailed in the report.

AgeingBubble showing 25% of the UK population will be aged 65 or over by 2035

The UK's population is ageing. This is creating significant areas of need, including in:

  • public service provision
  • well-being
  • digital isolation

However, rates of ageing vary considerably across the UK - a local and targeted approach will be needed to address negative consequences of ageing.

Find out more about ageing in our report slides

Community cohesion

Following an increase in net migration, we've seen a rise in ethnic diversity in the UK. The majority of people believe England is a tolerant society, yet there is a sense that prejudice is increasing.

Find out more about community cohesion in our report slides

Early action/intervention

We think that better planning and forward thinking can prevent areas of need from occurring. Some areas that could benefit from early action/intervention include:

  • financial literacy - helping people organise their personal finances
  • digital literacy - ensuring everyone has access to online services
  • gangs - discouraging young people from joining and helping those in gangs to leave.

Find out more about early action/intervention in our report slides


Overall, attainment is on the rise. Yet, we can still see some trends that need addressing:

  • in some places, the supply for school places may not meet demand
  • increasing numbers of pupils with English as an additional language may need extra language help to succeed
  • as more people obtain degrees, it is harder for those without qualifications to gain employment.

Find out more about education in our report slides


The relative importance of environmental issues seems to have declined as economic pressures rise. Rising energy prices is a key example of where individuals' primary concern is the cost of their fuel. Ethically-sourced products are now more widely available but consumer focus seems to have shifted to value to money.

Yet, interest in local schemes is growing. These local projects that connect individuals can also improve the local environment.

Find out more about the environment in our report slides

Health & well-being

We've seen a growing emphasis on mental ill-health in recent years. Physical health remains important too - especially due to the ageing population.

An emerging area of need is the diagnosis gap.

Diagnosis gap for ethnic minorities suffering from mental ill health

Find out more about health and well-being in our report slides

Jobs & skills

Better than expected unemployment figures mask the sharp rise in underemployment. We've seen this is particularly prevalent for those aged 19-24. Underemployment is a problem because it limits income. It can also affect a household's eligibility for other forms of financial help.

Find out more about jobs and skills in our report slides

People & places

House building declined during the economic downturn. This is forcing many on lower incomes to rent amid sharply rising prices in the private rental market.

We're also seeing isolation as a growing area of need. Between a quarter and a third of households have no access to a car or van. Where public transport is limited, this can make it difficult to access jobs and services.

Find out more about people and places in our report slides

Poverty & deprivation

Demand for food banks rose by 76% in 2011-2012

Important issues to address include:

  • fuel poverty
  • food banks
  • homelessness

There is a greater demand for food banks demand than existing projects are able to meet.

Find out more about poverty and deprivation in our report slides

Poverty & inequality

The rising costs of living have made poverty and inequality a central issue. These increasing costs are primarily being driven by rising housing costs. Yet economic prospects vary by UK region. At a local level, there is a danger that groups will be left behind in the economic recovery.

Find out more about poverty and inequality in our report slides