A community regeneration project in Falmouth has become the first scheme to win the Deputy Prime Minister’s Award for Sustainable Communities. The Beacon Community Partnership, which is led by local residents has transformed a once run-down estates in the area and according to the judges has made a real difference to people’s quality of life.The award was introduced to recognise schemes that help to deliver successful, thriving and sustainable communities across the country. The winning partnership, a multi-agency group, was set up in one of the UK’s most deprived areas, suffering from poverty, high levels of teenage pregnancy, anti-social behaviour, crime and poor health. It has been supported by 1.2 million pounds from the Capital Challenge Fund and a further million from Carrick Council.
Initially its work focused on improving hundreds of homes, by installing central heating, double-glazing and other energy conservation measures. The success of those measures acted as the catalyst for a range of action, including traffic calming, the installation of dog litter bins, tree and bulb planting and offering free security lighting to vulnerable people. The project has also seen the development of a skateboard park, and the setting up of a wide range of courses and self help groups in the community office and youth club.
As a result the area has seen a 40 per cent cut in house burglaries, a 50 per cent drop in child accident rates, improved exam results, a drop in cases of asthma and chest complaints and fuel cost savings of 180,000 pounds from the energy efficiency improvements.
John Prescott said the Falmouth residents were building a community that had a renewed sense of pride, vibrancy, and empowerment, as well as showing others how to deliver long-term sustainability. The winning project beat schemes from Caterham, Northmoor in Manchester and Beddington in London to win the award.