Headlines: May 1st, 2001

A further 22 of the poorest neighbourhoods in the UK have been allocated funds from the New Deal for Communities budget for re-generation. Each partnership was given 200,000 pounds in November 1999 to develop plans to tackle problems such as crime, poor health, unemployment and educational underachievement. Local people and organizations worked together to identify neighbourhoods of between 1,000-4,000 households and decide what’s wrong and what needs to change. They also decided who should be in charge of making change happen.The partnerships have been allocated an average of 50m pounds over ten years to put their plans into action. They will draw on the experience of the 17 pathfinder projects launched in 1999, which have shown that by engaging all stakeholders in the area including residents, local businesses, voluntary organisations and service providers, results can be delivered. Examples of achievement include a community-driven package of crime-fighting measures which led to a 30% drop in crime in the area and setting up an employment agency in another area which found jobs for 28 people in the first few months of operation.

The conditions under which the award of New Deal for Communities funds were made are very similar to the conditions of the Neighbourhood Management initiative. This is designed to help deprived communities and local service providers work together at the neighbourhood level to improve and ‘join up’ local services. Applications, which had to be submitted by 20 April 2001, were invited from 83 eligible communities and the successful 15 bidders will start work on drawing up plans in November 2001. The selected communities will be given 200,000 pounds to devise their plans.

Despite the similarity between the two initiatives the Department for Environment Transport and the Regions insists that there is ‘no crossover’ and communities will not be able to benefit from both budgets.