The 10 year New Deal for Communities programme launched in 1998 is making a difference in 39 of the most deprived neighbourhoods in England. The first Annual Review of the 2 billion pounds programme describes the benefits being delivered to neighbourhoods. It also shows how improvements are being made to the delivery of the main public services.Some of the most spectacular results have been achieved in the fight against crime with a 30% reduction in some areas. An example of crime reduction is a package of crime-fighting measures in Manchester which has led to a 25% drop in crime in the area, including a 34% cut in burglaries and 26% reduction in vehicle crime.
The New Deal for Communities partnerships are also making progress in boosting employment, improving health, housing, and the local environment, raising educational achievements and in actively engaging residents in making the decisions that affect their communities. In Middlesbrough, the @t work project has relocated the employment agency to the heart of the neighbourhood and 46 people have found jobs in the first two months of the initiative. In Bradford, a scheme gives sixth form students £750 a year in exchange for spending two weeks helping children with basic skills.
The lessons learnt from the programme so far will be fed into the work of other neighbourhood partnerships that are starting to implement the Neighbourhood Renewal Strategy.