KEY DATA FROM 2011 CENSUS
The community of Falmouth is made up of different groups and people in varying social and economic circumstances, well-illustrated in the 2011 Census. Although that census is now 3 years old, as a 100% count it gives the best picture of the make-up of the town’s population. The absolute numbers may have changed slightly, but the percentage proportions of each category and age cohort will not have changed significantly in this time.
In using these figures when designing engagement activity, it’s important to look at both the absolute numbers as well as percentages, so that any special measures can be proportional and appropriate.
Approximately 3,670 (16.8%) of Falmouth’s usually resident population were under 18 years old, a much lower proportion than for all Cornwall (19.3%) and England (21.4%). Their views, as future adult residents and users of Falmouth, are important. In particular around 475 young people will be old enough to vote in the Falmouth Neighbourhood Plan referendum in 2016. This is a group that is usually quite hard to engage with as its attention is strongly drawn elsewhere – the ‘adventure’ of growing up, intensive school work etc. – and special effort will be necessary to get these youngsters involved. The use of school activities, events within attractive youth events, or ‘activist’ young people to capture views as agents, may be necessary.
The number of younger adults (16 to 30) was 5,775, about 26.5% of Falmouth’s usually resident population, which is a significantly higher proportion than for all Cornwall (16.1%) and England (20.2%). Notably in 2011 there was a bulge around a cohort made up of 18 to 23 year olds, such that they made up nearly 60% of all young adults present, and 16% of the town’s usually resident population. These proportions compare to 41.7% and 6.7% for all Cornwall.
It’s reasonable to assume that this included a substantial number of University students. Assuming that many of these will have left the University to be replaced by fresh intakes of students, then it is likely that a similar enlarged cohort exists in 2015. This presents an issue for the Neighbourhood Plan engagement process: as temporary residents the students have only a short term ‘stake holding’ in the town which may be based on distinctly different interests than the permanently resident population, and indeed their presence may drive some of the issues that the Plan will need to tackle. The engagement and consultation strategy will need to provide for responses from students to be clearly identified so that they can be properly considered. Furthermore, the non-student younger adult residents, who are likely to be socially and economically very busy people, or have young and demanding families, rarely have time to engage with local government issues unless very directly affected. Consequently the engagement and consultation strategy will need to make particular effort to engage with non-student younger adult residents, (for example by providing engagement opportunities alongside other activities, for example when doing weekly food shop, or at local events), so as to produce a properly balanced response. The use of ‘satchel mail’, social media and website information are other useful channels for this group.
Allowing for the imbalance created by the ‘bulge’ of students, the number of more mature working age people at around 8,690 was a proportion fairly typical of Cornwall. This group are easier to engage with, having more time and wider interests than younger age groups, and is the likely source of volunteer effort and a great deal of experience to call upon. The upper end of the age range is likely to be more comfortable with traditional methods of engagement and consultation.
The figure of 4,129 older people (65+) was proportionally greater than the national figure. Likely to be very keen to become involved and often a strong source of volunteer effort. However, around 625 were 85+, likely to suffer mobility, access, and health issues that could restrict their ability to become involved in the Plan. Many of these will live in the Town’s care homes, which provide potential locations for engagement in age-appropriate ways.
The nationality, national origin, religion and ethnic group information from the Census illustrates that Falmouth is a community with little diversity. Some 94% of residents were born in the UK, compare to 86% nationally. Of the 6% of residents born abroad 41.7% came from Europe, 14.4% from Africa, 20.3% from the Middle East and Asia, 12% from the Americas and 4.2% from Oceania. There was a significantly greater proportion of white people compared to England (97.7% compared to 79.8%). This bias was reflected in the low proportions of mixed/multi ethnic people (300, or 1.4% compared to 2.3% nationally), Asian people (240, or 1.1% compared to 7.8%), and black people (47, or 0.2% compared to 3.5%). The proportions for religions such as Buddhist, Hindu, Muslim and Sikh was also very below average (205, 1% compared to 7.8%), although the proportion asserting other religions (0.8%) was higher than the national figure (0.4%). The significance of this lack of diversity is that it’s possible for minority groups to ‘disappear’ against the predominant background, and therefore to be un-engaged in the Plan process. For example in 2011 the proportion of people living in Falmouth with English as main language was 96.5% compared to 90.9% nationally. However some 1.47% of people lived in a household where no English was spoken as the main language. In absolute terms that is 140 people who may have difficulty dealing with Plan materials delivered in English. Consideration should be given to investigating this further to see if translated Plan engagement material is required.
In terms of health, 4,055 residents (18.6% compared to 17.6% nationally) said that their day-to-day activities were limited through ill-health. Of these 1,870 (8.6% compared to 8.3% nationally) of residents said that their day-to-day activities were limited a lot. Of these, 775, or 41.4% were of working age (compared to 43.7% nationally). Some 2,638 households (27.7% of total) had at least 1 person with long-term health problems or disability. These figures suggest that there is a sizeable proportion of residents who through ill health or disability may find it difficult to become engaged in the Plan unless measures are taken to respond, such as the use of accessible event space, larger print leaflets, or engagement through existing support groups.
Nearly 2,300 people were recorded as carers, 10.5% of the usually resident, with some 535 people (or 2.5%) providing more than 50 hours caring per week. All carers are busy people, but those providing extensive care will have little opportunity to engage in the Plan without assistance. Distributing material via GP Surgeries or support groups may be of use here.
No census data on sexual orientation and gender preference is available. The ONS Integrated Household Survey 2011 found 1.9% to be lesbian, gay or bisexual. However Stonewall says that the UK Government estimate, used for policy making, that 5% to 7% of the population is lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or questioning (LGBTQ), is reasonable. This implies that between 350 and 1,300 of the usually resident population over 16 may be LGBTQ. The engagement and consultation strategy should look at ways of communicating with this strand of the community, using local channels or county-wide representative organisations.
Data on hours worked shows that around 1,128 people worked for 49 hours or more, a significant number of residents that may not have time to engage easily into neighbourhood plan activity at traditional times. With economic recovery since 2011 this issue may recently have grown. Offering engagement opportunities via a variety of channels and at convenient times will assist.
In 2011 Falmouth had 4,515 people holding managerial, professional and administrative posts (47.2% of residents in employment compared to 52.6% nationally). In terms of qualifications some 3,174 (17.1%) were unqualified and the highest level qualification help by another 1,963 (10.6%) was Level 1, a lower proportion in both cases than is common in Cornwall and England. This was balanced by greater numbers holding Level 3 (3,760 or 20.2%) and Level 4 (5,299 or 28.5%). Although somewhat skewed by the presence of University students, the implication for engagement and consultation are that there is proportionally speaking, a greater pool of skills and experience to call upon compared to many other towns, and likely to be more active and informed participation in the engagement response.
No data from the 2011 Census on commuting in and out of Falmouth are not yet available. However, Falmouth has a longstanding employment inter-relationship with Truro and to a lesser extend with Camborne/Redruth, and clearly is a residential base for University staff as well as students. This means that there are probably a significant number of out-commuters that will have restricted time to be engaged in the Plan, and a significant number of in-commuters whose views are relevant as they have a stake in the future of Falmouth as they are users of it.
 The 2011 census records 3,384 full time students aged 16 to 64 in Falmouth (20.5% of all usual residents aged 16 to 64).Follow us on