Life in UK ‘Benefits-by-Sea’ town branded ‘rough s***hole’ and ‘shanty town’

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    The UK’s most deprived town was once dubbed “benefits by sea” and likened to a “shanty town”.

    Yep, Jaywick in Essex has received a lot of flak over the years, deemed by many as a less-than-desirable place to call home. Despite many over the years coming to its aid, a general consensus exists online that it is not one of the finer places in the British Isles.

    The east coast town was assessed as the most deprived in England in 2010 and then again in 2015 based on indices including poverty, crime, education and skill levels, unemployment and housing.

    READ MORE: Eerie abandoned police station with Victorian cells and interview room

    For the latest news and updates on terrible towns from across the country, click here.

    Cheap housing in the area is of course still a draw to some, with prospective residents taking to chatrooms to ask people if it is a good idea to move there. One Mumsnet post, from 2020, asked, “I know Jaywick is a bit rough… but still, can it really be that bad?”

    The answers did not hold back. One responder said: “Please don't move to Jaywick. It's cheap for a reason.”

    Another wrote: “Honestly, I think Jaywick is as rough as anything… Wouldn't move there if you paid me!”

    A third wrote: “Jaywick is cheap for a reason. It is so so so deprived. There is virtually no infrastructure in regards to public transport or even proper shops.”

    “‘Benefits by the sea’ was based in Jaywick. Looked so depressing,” wrote a fourth.

    “A bit rough is the understatement of the century! You’d be living in a rough s*** hole,” another user bluntly said.

    A second chatroom conversation from 2018, titled “Tell me about Jaywick,” received a lot of the same treatment as the first. “It is not a nice area at all,” one replied. “Lots of people I know wouldn't go there after dark. And they grew up there.”

    A second commented: “It is the most deprived place in England and resembles a shanty town. Huge flood risk. Unemployment and drug abuse endemic. Don't do it!”

    Their fears were echoed by a third, who said: “Rough as hell. Seriously don’t do it!”

    Jaywick has been featured in documentaries focusing on its deprivation over the years, with some viewers and people who know the area coming out in support of the town.

    “I thought Jaywick looked as though it had a great sense of community,” one person said on a Mumsnet post.

    Although it was named the most deprived in the UK in 2019, in 2023, it was polled as the fifth best place to live by ILiveHere because of that aforementioned "community feel".

    Speaking to the Sun, local Broadway social club barmaid Lorraine Walker said: “It’s about time that people spoke up for Jaywick. I love it here because it is so community orientated.

    "Everyone knows each other and looks out for each other. If you don’t see your neighbour around for a couple of days, you knock on their door and make sure they are OKAY. The people who like to s*** off Jaywick don’t know what they are talking about. I think it is fantastic."

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