`Profile of a regenerating community`









               Middlesbrough                                                                  University of Durham

              Borough Council                                                Community & Youth Work Studies Unit





“Now the thrill

of the lottery

has died down,

tickets have become

a shopping list item

like the tins of Chum

or cheese, not

kissed for luck,


as the winner, but

bought blindly

like the weekly

baked beans

and bread,

a chore;

a dead cert

we’ll be back for more

because luck

like food

runs out.”


(Ann O’Neill, Grove Hill Women’s Writers Group)










A big thank you to all the staff at Grove Hill Youth & Community Centre

for putting up with me for the last few weeks, to Tees Valley Joint

Strategy Unit for the use of the many socio-economic statistics and

the people of Grove Hill for their support and encouragement.














1.0       Introduction


2.0       POPULATION


2.1       Population Count

2.2       Demographic Analysis

2.3            Political Allegiance


3.0       HISTORY
3.0       History


4.0       HOUSING


4.1       Type

4.2            Availability

4.3       Cost

4.4       Quality


5.0       ECONOMY


5.1       Employment

5.2       Unemployment


6.0       EDUCATION


6.1       Schools

6.1.1    Primary Schools

6.1.2    Secondary Schools

6.2       Further/Higher Education

6.3            Qualifications

6.4            Attitudes


7.0       CRIME


7.1       Statistics



8.0       HEALTH


8.0       Health




9.1            Key Agencies            

9.1.1     Grove Hill 2000

9.1.2     Community Development Team

9.2            Leisure Facilities

9.3            Shopping

9.4            Worship

9.5            Library




10.1     Size

10.2     Ward Boundaries

10.3        Attitudes




10.4     Environmental Issues


11.0     TRANSPORT


11.1     Car Ownership

11.2        Public Transport

11.2.1Availability & Cost












APPENDIX 1. – `Grove Hill Ward Boundary Map`


APPENDIX 2. – `Grove Hill Socio-Economic Snapshot `   


APPENDIX 3. - `Selected Socio-Economic Statistics`




1.0            Introduction


This report will form a community profile of the Grove Hill ward area of Middlesbrough. A community profile can be described as a `comprehensive description of the needs of a population … that is defined as a community, and the resources that exist within that community, carried out with the active involvement of the community` (Hawtin, Hughes and Percy-Smith, 1994: 5).


Grove Hill ward falls under the classification of a geographical community, that is a `web of personal relationships, group networks, traditions and pattern of behaviour that develops amongst those who share the same physical environment` (Hindley, 1997: 1).


Grove Hill ward contains the enumeration districts EUFJ01, EUFJ05, EUFJ06, EUFJ07, EUFJ08, EUFJ09 AND EUFJ10 (see APPENDIX 1. `Grove Hill Ward Boundary Map` for visual details of Grove Hill area). These areas are eligible for support under the Community Economic Development criteria of North East of England Single Programme relating to Objective 2 of the European Structural Funds.


All statistics in this report are provided by Tees Valley Joint Strategy Unit and are taken from 1991 census or associated documentation unless otherwise indicated.


2.0       POPULATION


2.1       Population Count


·        population 5,580

·        2,270 households


2.2            Demographic Analysis


The population is split fairly evenly between male and female residents, with a slight female bias (48.6%:51.4%).


The percentage of residents from ethnic minority groups in Grove Hill (4.4%) although being lower than the National average (5.9%) is far greater than the local mean rating (Tees Valley 1.9%). This could be partially explained by the relatively high levels of LA rented accommodation and low price of private housing in the area.


Appreciation of this figure, which shocked many workers and residents, would seem to suggest that despite their presence, ethnic minority groups are heavily under-represented in local agencies and initiatives.


Analysis of the population age shows that Grove Hill has a slightly younger population than regional and national averages and also that there are less residents of 45+ and pensionable age (see Appendix – 2 `Selected Socio-Economic Statistics`). The lower level of older people can be partially attributed to shorter life span, in turn ascribed to a relatively unhealthy lifestyle and lower probability of available health provision being accessed, thus reducing the average life span. The area having an above average Standardised Mortality Rate of 111 would seem to confirm this.


Single parent households run at 8.6%, considerably higher than the local average, and that for England and Wales (5.3%/3.7%). The number of households with three or more children also runs high at 8.1% (5.9%/5.3%). These statistics coupled with 2.5% of households being categorised as overcrowded (1.8%/2.1%), also signifies many larger than average sized families in the area.


2.3       Political Allegiance


Grove Hill Ward is a Labour Party stronghold. Currently two Labour Party Councillors represent the Ward in the local council, Ken J. Hall and Patricia Walker.


3.0              HISTORY


3.0            History


`In 1992/93 our estate came close to riot, an effort to find solutions was started by the stakeholders in the community, residents, local authority officers & members and agencies working the area` (GH 2000 Web Site, 1998).


A series of  `Community Futures` workshops and a Community Conference were held, (addressing key issues; safety – youth – crime – unemployment) which drew up an Agenda for Action, the first point on the agenda was the development of a vehicle which would implement the actions identified, thus Grove Hill 2000 was created.


Historically the Grove Hill estate has always been a residential area with relatively poor socio-economic standing including very high unemployment and above average crime rates. This has led to the area being stigmatised and many of the residents, especially those in the younger age brackets, being branded as lazy and/or criminal. This is not a true reflection of the area and Grove Hill 2000 especially, with partnership agreements is working hard to not only regenerate the area in terms of socio-economic standing, but to change the negative attitudes towards the area from residents and non-residents alike.


4.0       HOUSING


4.1            Type


There are 2,330 households in the area (of 2400 dwellings). The population density is 38 persons/hectare showing a heavily populated residential estate against regional and national averages (8.2 p/h / 3.5 p/h).


The housing tenure in the area shows that home ownership is 1/3 below both local and national averages, with LA rented accommodation making up the majority of the shortfall (details in APPENDIX 3., Fig. 3.2).


There are a large number of flats situated on Bishopton Road that have been created with the needs of the elderly in mind.


Whilst walking around the area it is apparent that not many houses are for sale as there are few `For Sale` signs. Local estate agents confirm that house sales in the area are `slow`, this is reflected in local advertising, where very few residences in Grove Hill appear.


4.2            Availability


Wimpey Homes in Partnership with Middlesbrough Borough Council are `creating a range of affordable new homes` at Marton Grove named `Clairville` (Wimpey Homes promotional brochure). This 110 two and three bedroom home development is seen as a key foundation in the visual and economic regeneration of Grove Hill.


According to the Sales Assistant at the Show Homes “sales are going well” at this development. Purchasers are from all around Middlesbrough, many of them are “moving down-market to free capital for holidays or other things”.  The Assistant believed that the success in sales was down to the fact that the area “has improved a hell of a lot”.


4.3       Cost


The cost for new homes on Wimpey’s `Clairville` development are lower than similar and identical housing in other areas of Middlesbrough. Two bed houses start at £36,450 and three bed from £39,450, a saving of around £10,000 on properties in other parts of town. As an incentive for first time Wimpey are also offering 5% deposit paid for buyers to purchase these homes.


The suspicion that the housing market is quiet in the area is confirmed by local estate agents, who also comment that prices in the area are `appreciably lower than many other residential areas`.


4.4       Quality


Statistics suggest that the quality of housing in Grove Hill is good. Only 12.6% of households are not fitted with central heating, this compares favourably with regional and national comparisons (15.1%/18.5%), this is mainly due to the large number of council properties which have been recently modernised.


However the statistics are representative of the average household in the area and some housing is in a very bad state of dilapidation and disrepair.


5.0       ECONOMY


5.1       Employment


50.4% of the male and 37.3% of female residents are classified as working, this is slightly lower than the Ward mean (53.5%/39.7%) and mode (55.6%/40%) values for Middlesbrough.


The socio-economic group of head of household in Grove Hill is disproportionately dominated by the lower status and lower paid sectors of employment, unskilled (10.8%), semi-skilled (27%), and skilled manual workers (26.1%). These figures show that Grove Hill residents are considerably disadvantaged in the work place in terms of status and pay when compared with local and national figures.


5.2       Unemployment


Unemployment rates are 17.8% for males and 4.7% for females, this shows a 2.5% higher unemployment rate among males than the Middlesbrough mean, although the statistic for female unemployment compares favourably with the borough Ward mean (5.1%). This equates to 213 men and 40 women unemployed in the Ward.


These statistics tell a very sombre story when equated with comparative data for the  Tees Valley area (male11.4%/ female 3.3%), and National  unemployment rates (m 5%/f 2.0%).


These statistics do not include the group which are classified as `Inactive`, that is individuals who are not in paid employment including those who are retired, students or permanently sick. This category accounts for a further 31.8% of males and 58% of females.


6.0       EDUCATION


6.1            Schools


6.1.1     Primary Schools


There are two primary schools in the area;


·        Marton Grove Primary

·        St. Josephs R. C.


6.1.2    Secondary Schools


There are no secondary schools situated directly in the Ward area, therefore most school aged children face a bus journey to one of the local schools, most of which are within a 6 mile radius. These include Brackenhoe, Kings Manor, St. David’s, Hall Garth and Macmillan’s CTC, although interestingly no one that I spoke to knew of any Grove Hill children attending Macmillan’s.


6.2       Further/Higher Education


No facilities within the Ward, the following are all a `reasonable` bus ride away (approximate distance):


·        Teesside Tertiary College (1 mile) – wide range of qualifications including A Level, GCSE, BTEC, NVQ, GNVQ, RSA and City & Guilds.

·        Middlesbrough College (1 mile) – from foundation skills to BTEC, NVQ and GNVQ. HNC in association with University of Teeside.

·        Cleveland College of Art and Design (1 mile) – part time non-vocational qualifications to BA (Hons).

·        St. Mary’s RC Sixth Form (1 mile) – A Level and GNVQ courses for Catholics and non-Catholics alike.

·        University of Teesside (1.5 miles) – HNC, HND to Masters and Research Degrees


6.3       Qualifications


·        16.4% of year 11 pupils from the Ward failed to achieve any grades A*-G at GCSE in 1997 (10.9, 7.7), this is more than twice the national average.


(Middlesbrough Average, National Average)


6.4       Attitudes


Many residents of the area, both young and old, have a negative attitude towards formal education thinking “what’s the point, we won’t get a decent job anyway, not if we come from ‘round here” (young resident).


7.0       CRIME


7.1       Statistics


·        1684 reported crimes, fourth highest in Middlesbrough

·        723 crimes per 1000 households, fifth highest in Middlesbrough

·        10% of offenders dealt with by the Probation Service (Middlesbrough) from Grove Hill

·        closed circuit television installed in several areas for crime prevention


(statistics - Consultation Report, 1998: 9).


8.0       HEALTH


8.0            Health


`There is a good choice of Doctors and Dentists locally and South Cleveland Hospital is located just a short distance away on Marton Road` (Wimpey Homes, promotional brochure).


Despite this optimistic outlook the picture of health for residents is not so rosy. A disappointing 19.6% of residents are categorised as having a major health problem or disability, once more showing an unfavourable comparison with local and national averages (15.3%, 13.1%).




9.1            Key Agencies


9.1.1     Grove Hill 2000


Grove Hill 2000 Limited is a vehicle for driving forward change (physical, social and environmental) in the local community. Since inception (1996), Grove Hill 2000 have successfully bid for SRB Challenge Funding, and Employment Zones contract, the VSO option of New Deal, European Regional Development Fund assistance, they were unsuccessful in a bid for ESF funding.


1997/8 was the first year of a seven-year regeneration programme for Grove Hill. This regeneration scheme is managed by a partnership which includes the council, probation service, Teesside Council for Voluntary Services (TCVS) and is lead by a community based company, Grove Hill 2000.


The Grove Hill 2000 board of directors includes seven residents, `to ensure that the project remains accountable to the local community` (GH 2000 Web Site). The project’s staff work with local people to tackle community safety, form a self-build housing group, and have undertaken a skills audit and provide a `Jobsmatch` service.


A Community Resource Centre costing around £850,000 was completed in February 1999 and opened in April. It is situated on Bishopton Road, next to the existing MBC Community Centre and houses most of GH2000’s community initiatives, with the notable exception of their youth projects.


GH2000 offers projects which are designed to meet the needs of local residents, these include offering training courses (especially I.T. and job skills), a community safety project, a self build project (participants build and maintain their own homes), employment and back to work projects. All projects designed to generally improve the socio-economic status of the area.


9.1.2    Community Development Team


The Local Authority (MBC) has a Community Development Team based in Grove Hill. Although this team’s remit is to work in the whole of central Middlesbrough and not just Grove Hill, they are involved in building sustainable projects within the locality. Project ideas come from the local residents who are involved at all levels of project development from management, through delivery, to evaluation. It is hoped that capacity building and sustainability will be achieved through these processes. The CDT is heavily involved in building sustainable, inclusive and effective Community Councils.


9.2            Leisure Facilities


Located within Grove Hill is Teesside’s only International Athletics Stadium. As the promotional leaflet suggests `Everyone’s heard of the “Stadium”`, this is not too far from the truth for Middlesbrough residents as most school sports days are held here. Clairville Stadium `includes all-weather athletics and cycling tracks and hosts local, regional and international events. An active school holiday programme is run for children keen to explore athletics. The stadium also runs a junior athletics club [graduating] onto the adult clubs that train at the stadium` (Middlesbrough Official Guide, 1997: 30). The stadium also has facilities for fitness and two squash/raquetball courts.


Many of the local residents feel that although these facilities are on their doorsteps, they are priced to high to be available to them on a regular basis.


9.3            Shopping


Good levels of local shopping facilities are available at the `Palladium` shopping area . These include:


Post Office, Off Licence, Bakers, Butchers, Green grocers, Clothes shop, Amusement arcade, Frozen food store, `Ladbrookes` Bookmakers, `Kwick Save` supermarket, Newsagents, General dealers, Decorators shop, Charity shop (Teesside Hospice), Chemists

Dentist, Barbers, Pet shop/dog parlour, Indian take away, Pizza take away (2), Chinese take away, Fish & Chip take away, Petrol station. There are also five unused buildings in disrepair, spaces for around 40 cars (this seems to be very busy during working hours).


There is a large `Aldi` supermarket on the outskirts of Grove Hill with very competitive prices. However many of the younger residents feel a stigma attached to shopping at this store. Also just outside the Ward boundary are Belle Vue shops which offer a selection of small local outlets.


9.4            Worship


The Parish of `St. Oswald’s Martyr and King` is located within the Ward area. As well as dealing with resident spiritual needs, the church also provides some provision of activity/play work with the under 11’s.


St Chad’s lies just outside the Ward perimeter, however it does offer 2 evenings of provision for young people from the area (under 11). The `Boy’s Brigade` also operates from the Church Hall on Monday evenings.


Next to St. Joseph’s Primary School is St. Joseph’s R.C. Church.


9.5            Library


Grove Hill has a good quality local library, which staff say is a `well used` facility, indeed the library looked very busy on each of the occasions I visited.




10.1     Size


Grove Hill covers an area of 140 hectares.


10.2     Ward Boundaries


Grove Hill is bounded by Westbourne (N), Berwick Hills (E), Beechwood (S) and Park (W).


10.3     Attitudes




Julie Davies, Centre Manager at Grove Hill Youth Community Centre comments on the area ‘it has definitely changed for the better … I used to come to the centre when I was a kid, I was one of the brats. The area now looks much better, the people are community oriented … they know each other and are friendly`.


Michelle Crinnion, clerical assistant commented `its a lot quieter than I thought it would be, I was given a very negative view of Grove Hill when I was growing up, but the people are really easy to talk to`.


GH2000 Youth Development Worker, Tim Deans explains that perhaps one of the problems is `that as the area of high disadvantage [Bishopton Road] has been regenerated, it has improved beyond the level of other parts of the estate [e.g. Meadowfield]. So the part which is being regenerated is now not the most needy`.




Attitudes towards the area from residents are highly variable. Although some residents have a positive outlook and cite the recent changes as good examples of how the area is improving, many others have a poor view of the area. Young people in particular have a negative view of the area and feel stigmatised to a greater or lesser degree with the title of `Grove Hillian`.


When questioned on the best and worst aspects of the area the most common replies were: best things – `youth club`, `computer stuff at GH2000`, `lots of family live round here`, and `the community centre`. Highlighted among the worst things were - `the rogues`, `gangs drinking on the corners and pinching stuff`, `vandalism and graffiti`, `the park that used to be good, but someone trashed it all … now its only got a climbing frame`, `burglary` and `the fucking big camera and all the TWOC’s`.




Non-residents from the locality view Grove Hill very negatively. Typical views from those neighbouring or close to the area are that it is “full of rogues and drug addicts” or “the place wants knocking down” (local non-residents). This one-sided view is somewhat unfair as, it is true that Grove Hill has its share of problems, but the area’s residents seem to be blamed for much of the wrongdoing and illegal activity throughout Middlesbrough as a whole. Additionally economic and environmental factors such as high unemployment and overcrowding are either dismissed as irrelevant, or the residents themselves are blamed for these problems.


10.4     Environmental Issues


The only resource identified in the area for environmental improvement is a bottle bank in Clairville Stadium car park.


11.0     TRANSPORT


11.1        Car Ownership


The area has a large number of households without a car 59% (41.1%/32.4%) and few households with 2 or more cars 6.6% (16.7%/22.8%) compared locally and nationally (in parenthesis). Additionally, when we see that only 50.3% of workers in the area travel to work by car, a great emphasis is placed on the cost and availability of local public transport facilities.


11.2     Public Transport


11.2.1  Availability & Cost


21.2% of employed residents use public transport to travel to and from work. Other residents require public transport to travel mainly to the town centre for extended shopping and leisure facilities, or to gain access to provision for travelling further afield.


Local resident’s views on the public transport are favourable. A bus journey to Middlesbrough Town Centre from the Palladium shops costs 64p and the journey takes approximately 15 minutes. The service is frequent with several busses from Grove Hill to the Town Centre every hour.




Having identified the relative large percentage of residents from ethnic minority groups and their apparent `invisibility` in the area, it is important that this group is sought out and consulted about their future needs in the area’s regeneration.


There is a blatant need for social opportunities for young people who are currently offered little by GH2000 and only a couple of two-hour sessions by the Youth and Community Centre. There is great opportunity for collaborative work here between the two parties as GH2000 have funding for resources and outings, whilst MBC Youth Service provides sessional youth work staff with little resource funding.


Further opportunities exist to involve the community in the regeneration of their area through volunteering and project provision, particularly with parents and toddlers and older people.


Affordable recreational, leisure and social activities are still on the agenda despite being identified as important needs by the 1997 Community Appraisal (TCAP, 1997: 12)


The most significant needs that do not appear to be being addressed at a strategic level are issues around health. There is a definite need for health promotion and education throughout all aspects of the community, which could make a tremendous impact on people’s lives. This could be done in partnership between existing provision showing how to eat healthily on a small budget and exploring the implications of unhealthy eating.


13.0          CONCLUSION

After only a short time in Grove Hill it becomes apparent the majority of the residents are keen to make suggestion which may make a positive impact on the areas image and structure. I must concur with the findings and conclusion of TCAP that local people have `many ideas for opportunities for the regeneration of the area` (TCAP, 1997: 17).


Grove Hill is keen to capacity build by involving local people in projects which are designed to meet local needs, especially through the work of GH2000. However, It appears that much of the work is overseen and/or carried out by a small group of local residents who may be in danger of distancing themselves from the views and needs of other residents as they professionalise themselves through their experience and learning, thus loosing their roots. It may be advisable to seek more residents to ensure the projects continue to meet the needs of all residents and not purely the few who are heavily involved.


The Grove Hill 2000 Limited partnership with much SRB funding is attempting not only to build capacity, but to create sustainable regeneration projects within the area, though it is appreciated that this is a difficult task.


It would appear that GH2000 has been highly successful in raising awareness of the needs of Grove Hill and its residents, however I believe that this has come at a cost. Due to the high profile and large budget that GH2000 is working with, other smaller projects, such as the Youth and Community Centre and potential local initiatives are expected to be represented by GH2000. Thus any group which is not in favour with GH2000 or at odds with the project faces an uphill battle to secure funding, resources and assistance in an area which has seen a great deal of recent improvement.


It also appears that GH2000’s activities, although beneficial to local residents are somewhat disjointed and, to outsiders at least may appear to be lacking co-ordination and direction. It would appear that many residents and workers in Grove Hill are unclear of the `big picture` for one reason or another. This is perhaps reinforced by much of the regeneration being concentrated in a very small area [Bishopton Road], which may cause a perception of elitism among some residents.




CDT – Community Development Team


CTC – City Technical College (Macmillan College in Middlesbrough)


ESF – European Social Fund


GH 2000  Grove Hill 2000 Limited


IT – Information Technology


LA – Local Authority (which for Grove Hill is Middlesbrough Borough Council)


MBC – Middlesbrough Borough Council


MCVD – Middlesbrough Council for Voluntary Development


SRB – Single Regeneration Budget


TCVS – Teesside Council for Voluntary Service


TCAP – Teeside Community Appraisal Partnership


TWOC – Taken Without Owners’ Consent (Car Theft)


VSO – Voluntary Sector Option (of the New Deal initiative)






Consultation Report (1998) An Audit of Crime and Disorder in Middlesbrough Middlesbrough: Middlesbrough Council/Middlesbrough Police


Hawtin, M., Hughes, G. and Percy-Smith, J. (1994) Community Profiling, Auditing Social Needs Buckingham: Open University Press


Hindley, A. (1997) `Glossary` in Harris, V. (Ed.) Community Work Skills Manual Newcastle: Association of Community Workers


Middlesbrough Official Guide (1997) Middlesbrough Official Guide Middlesbrough: Middlesbrough Borough Council Public Relations Dept.


TCAP (1997) Community Appraisal for the Wards of Beechwood, Easterside and Grove Hill Middlesbrough: Teesside Community Appraisal Partnership





GH 2000 Web Site (1998)


Tees Valley Joint Strategy Unit Web Site (2000)



`Grove Hill Ward Boundary Map`






Grove Hill ward contains the enumeration districts EUFJ01, EUFJ05, EUFJ06, EUFJ07, EUFJ08, EUFJ09 AND EUFJ10.


Grove Hill is bounded by Westbourne (N), Berwick Hills (E), Beechwood (S) and Park (W).


`Grove Hill Socio-Economic Snapshot`


(Tees Valley Joint Strategy Unit ``)


Area Snapshot for the Middlesbrough Ward of Grove Hill


Population (Mid-2000)   Total 5,510                            Male 2,680                 Female 2,830


By Age :

Under 5                                    350

5 to 16                                      1,030

17 to 24                                    580

25 to 44                                    1,690

45 to retirement                         970

retirement and over                   890


Number of households (Mid-2000)          2,330

Number of dwellings (Mid-2000)            2,400

Area (hectares)                                                 146


Population density (persons/hectare)       38


Tenure (% households, 1991 Census)

Owner-Occupied                       47.9                Rented Privately                                    4.6

Local Authority Rented              37.0                Housing Association Rented                   10.5


Other 1991 Census Indicators

% Ethnic minorities                                4.4      % Households with lone pensioner          18.8

% People with a health problem                         19.6    % Single parent households                    8.6

%Households with 3 or more children     8.1      % households with no car                      59.0

%households with 2 or more cars           6.6      % households with no central heating      12.6

% Overcrowded households                   2.5


Socio-Economic Group (1991 Census)

% of heads of households :

Employers/managers/professionals         13.5

Other non-manuals                                22.5

Skilled manuals                          26.1

Semi-skilled manuals                              27.0

Unskilled manuals                                  10.8


Means of Travel to Work (1991 Census)

% By car          50.3                % By bus          21.2                            % On foot         18.4    % Other means             8.4                        % who work at home                1.7


Unemployment (January 2000) :                         Overall unemployment rate %    11.8



Notes : 1991 Census data is Crown Copyright. Mid 2000 Population data provided by Tees Valley Joint Strategy Unit. All other data was supplied by the Office for National Statistics.


`Selected Socio-Economic Statistics`



Figure 3.1 `Grove Hill Population by age, with local and national comparison`



Figure 3.2 `Grove Hill Housing Tenure, 1991 Census`