Published on 21st June 2023

Aerial view of Cheltenham's Imperial Gardens and surrounding streets

Recommendations to tackle deprivation and make a difference to lives across Cheltenham outlined in new report.

A new report addressing deprivation in Cheltenham, looking at issues surrounding the cost of living, housing, health, education, economic growth and employment, has been approved by Cheltenham Borough Council’s Overview and Scrutiny committee (O&S).

The report follows on from the findings and recommendations put forward by a task group set up by the committee, outlining how the council - working closely with its partners - can make a positive difference to communities across the borough.

A range of commitments with key organisations and partners are already in place to offer support, as outlined in the council’s corporate plan. These include: developing a social plan to ensure local communities benefit from investment in the town; strengthening partnerships with Cheltenham Borough Homes and improving tenant, resident and community outcomes; supporting residents and communities with the cost of living crisis with #FeedCheltenham; and raising awareness of issues affecting local children such as criminal exploitation, period poverty and healthy eating by working with No Child Left Behind.

The committee felt that given the challenges faced by some of Cheltenham’s residents, more work could be undertaken in a number of areas. These area include: working with community partners to support residents with the cost of living crisis; helping tenants to live in healthy and energy efficient homes; improving understanding of health inequalities; working with local schools to help ensure that all children are able to thrive; and working with the police to reduce the impact from anti-social behaviour.   

Cllr Dr David Willingham, chair of the scrutiny task group, said: “I would like to thank all the members of the task group, and the witnesses who provided us with first-hand testimony about the various challenges and hardships experienced by some of our residents. The evidence we heard highlighted some stark differences in the quality of life between different communities across our town.

“As a town with a vision for growth, I hope the recommendations from this report can be incorporated into that vision so as our town grows, we try our utmost not to leave anyone or any community behind.”

These challenges have to be acknowledged and supported by the council and its partners across the borough in public, private and voluntary sectors.

Cllr John Payne, chair of O&S committee, added: “The publication of this report does in my opinion mark the start of a long process to address the multiple causes of deprivation in Cheltenham. The Overview and Scrutiny task group under the chairmanship of Cllr Willingham took evidence from a wide range of authorative sources, including teachers, social workers, food bank volunteers, health workers and housing providers to name but a few.

“The result was perhaps the most comprehensive study of deprivation ever undertaken in Cheltenham. The process of tackling deprivation is a dynamic one, and it is particularly encouraging to note that the cabinet is giving active consideration to 21 recommendations in the report.

“As the chair of the Overview and Scrutiny committee I would like to thank Cllr Willingham for his hard work in progressing this work, the members of the task group and all those who contributed.”

Following the approval from the O&S, the report will be presented to the council’s cabinet later in the year for their consideration.

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Putting local people first, the O&S committee is responsible for ensuring that the scrutiny process is carried out effectively and making a difference to lives across Cheltenham. It aims to support the council in achieving its vision and the delivery of its Corporate Plan 23 - 27 and promote open and transparent decision-making, democratic accountability and to hold the cabinet to account for its actions.

For more information on the Overview & Scrutiny Committee and the latest report visit: