Sandwell is a metropolitan borough in the Black Country made up of six towns: Oldbury, Rowley Regis, Smethwick, Tipton, Wednesbury and West Bromwich. Located in the West Midlands, Sandwell borders Birmingham, Dudley, Walsall and Wolverhampton. Sandwell is divided into 24 wards and is represented by 72 ward councillors.
With 327,378 residents, Sandwell has the third largest population in the West Midlands Combined Authority area and is the 34th biggest local authority in Great Britain. It is predicted to grow faster than the West Midlands and the national average.
We have a young and diverse population with more than 40% of residents under the age of 30, compared to around 30% across the UK. Almost 40% of residents are from an ethnic minority, making us more diverse than the regional and UK average of 18.8% and 14% respectively.
Sandwell is made up of six historic boroughs covering a patchwork of towns and townships, urban villages and localities that developed with industrialisation. People very much identify with their local community. Sandwell is characterised by widespread deprivation with pockets of prosperity, for instance in Wednesbury and Smethwick. It is the 12th most deprived English local authority out of a total of 317.
Sandwell has many growing and productive businesses and a higher than average proportion of our businesses are small. Sandwell has 136,000 jobs and 8,775 businesses. We are incredibly proud of being the supply chain centre of the UK, but this great strength also potentially exposes us to risks in particular sectors. Our businesses need a better skilled workforce to grow and they need support to accelerate innovation. We also have a limited amount of quality land for businesses to expand and grow in the borough’s industrial core.
Although Sandwell has many challenges, it also has a significant number of opportunities that we aim to build on over the next five years. This includes the new Midland Metropolitan University Hospital, the new Sandwell Aquatics Centre which will host the swimming and diving events for the 2022 Commonwealth Games, the extension to the Midland Metro line, HS2, many planned new homes, being part of the 5G testbed and bidding for major funding for three of our towns through the Stronger Towns Fund. Our Corporate Plan and our Inclusive Economy Deal will be focusing on the challenges for people, place and business and the opportunities we must make a difference.