The parish of Brighton Kemp Town: St Mary is in the Deanery of Brighton and comes under the jurisdiction of the Diocese of Chichester. It comprises approximately 6000 people living in Brighton between the sea and the top of Queen's Park. It straddles all of St James's Street and Upper St James's Street, and at its most westerly point stretches to the Old Steine and at its most easterly to Sutherland Road.
These boundaries have changed several times since the parish was created in the 1870s. Initially the church's catchment area was more easterly, towards Kemp Town proper, but in 1949 the parish was reordered to take in much of the area previously under St James's Church, in Chapel Street, and then again, in 1967, that of All Souls Church in Eastern Road.
The parish is classified by the Church of England as an Urban Priority Area (UPA). Its population is a diverse inner-city one, characterized by considerable levels of social deprivation, with fewer family units and children than the national average and a high proportion of young working adults, many of them newcomers to the area. Because of local authority housing priorities in the 1970s, there is an unusual concentration of elderly and disabled people living within the parish boundaries, including many who are effectively house-bound and suffer loneliness and isolation.
To counter the problems, the parish benefits from the lively culture of St James's Street, the numerous small businesses and hotels that flourish in the neighbourhood, and the commitment of the many community activists who work to better the area for everyone. There is a large and politically active LGBT community, many independent arts and media workers, and a substantial student population, many of them from overseas.
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