A new report has in particular highlighted the key challenges facing Hertfordshire's most deprived ward - in Borehamwood.

The report - Hertfordshire Matters 2020 - published by the Hertfordshire Community Foundation (HCF) identifies some of the inequalities and challenges in the county, particularly focusing on deprivation, health, homelessness, and crime.

According to the research within the report, more than 25,000 Hertfordshire children live in poverty, hospital admissions for youth mental health are above the national average, and since 2011 there has been a significant increase in homelessness - a 96 per cent increase in statutory homelessness and 165 per cent increase in homeless households in temporary accommodation.

Cowley Hill ward in Borehamwood has been identified in the report as the most deprived neighbourhood in Hertfordshire and the only neighbourhood ranked amongst the most deprived 10 per cent in England - as a whole, Borehamwood is registered as the second most deprived town in Hertfordshire, behind Waltham Cross, but its score of around 19 on the index of multiple deprivation is lower than the England average of around 22.

In addition, the report states that one in three residents in Cowley Hill are income deprived, and one-in-four adults are out of work.

This translates to Borehamwood having above average rates of child poverty in the county.

More than one in ten households lives in overcrowded conditions and there are higher than expected levels of hospitalisations due to alcohol attributable harm.

Concerns about deprivation levels in Cowley Hill have previously been raised by the leader of Hertsmere Labour Jeremy Newmark, who is also a Cowley Hill ward councillor.

Cllr Newmark urged Hertsmere Borough Council to undertake some work to find out what was causing the deprivation in the ward - and the council responded by putting aside £20,000 to establish these causes.

The Hertfordshire Matters report was presented at a virtual event on June 23 attended by more than 200 philanthropists, local organisations, community leaders and the Hertfordshire voluntary sector.

Helen Gray, foundation director at the HCF, said: "Hertfordshire Matters is a snapshot that measures the well-being of our communities. It helps us to identify strengths, needs and trends and the issues that are critical to our community’s quality of life.

"As the impact of the coronavirus outbreak unfolds, the crisis has further exposed local issues including homelessness, food poverty, social isolation, poor mental health and domestic violence. As the full impact of the pandemic unfolds these issues are likely to worsen.

"As a result, it has become even more important for community stakeholders to understand the needs and challenges within our communities so that we can collectively tackle them.”

"We will use Hertfordshire Matters 2020 to advise our donors and fund holders to ensure their local giving delivers the greatest possible impact and to support organisations that we work with.

"We know that it is only with knowledge and understanding that these challenges can be addressed. We hope that the information will help more people to connect, collaborate and engage to build stronger communities and to make our county a better place for everyone."

The full report can be seen at www.hertscf.org.uk/hertfordshire-matters