Solihull is a metropolitan borough council. It includes urban areas, such as Castle Bromwich in the north, and Birmingham International Airport lies within the Solihull council boundary. Solihull also includes very rural areas, with dispersed communities and very few public services. Although broadly affluent, there are areas of deep poverty within Solihull, with some areas falling within the 10% most deprived areas of England. Life expectancy figures also show a great disparity. For example, the life expectancy of women living in the northern ward of Chelmsley Wood is 80.6, whilst the life expectancy for women living in St Alphege near Solihull town centre is 91.1. A similar gap exists for men, with the life expectancy for men in Chelmsley Wood calculated to be 73.6, whilst that for men living in St Alphege is 82.7. (Census 2011 data)
Consequently, carrying out research in Solihull brings many challenges and opportunities. It provides opportunities to hear the voices of people from a wide range of backgrounds and circumstances. The challenge will be making sure that all these different people have an opportunity to participate and be heard.