Headlines: April 25th, 2005

Leicester is spreading information about best practice in housing provision to local authorities in Europe. Two specialists from the city have recently returned from a week-long trip to Bulgaria and in the next few weeks a member of staff will be in Albania and Croatia to pass on information about housing renewal.Irfhan Mururajani, the city council’s Beacon co-ordinator is making the trip at the invitation of Council of Europe following the council’s success in being designated a Beacon Council in 2004-05 for Housing Renewal.

The City Council’s sheltered housing service manager, Jean Denyer, and Stephen Maddison, corporate business manager with Asra Midlands Housing Association have already visited the southern Bulgarian town of Haskovo as part of a UK drive to help develop housing and social care services there. That trip was paid for by the British Embassy in Bulgaria and was arranged to provide Bulgarian housing professionals with expert advice based on the success of projects in Leicester.

Sylvia Ivanova, a Programme Adviser with the Directorate of Co-operation for Local and Regional Democracy of the Council of Europe has helped to organise the city’s latest mission. “We were very impressed by Leicester’s learning programme and the methods used to promote Leicester’s housing renewal programme,” she said. “Irfhan’s visit will be invaluable in helping European countries to learn from their counterparts,” she added.

During the visits, funded by the Council of Europe, Irfhan will run a series of workshops and advise on methods of disseminating information and advice. “Throughout our year as a Beacon Council for Housing Renewal we have worked to demonstrate to other organisations how we have become a leader in this field. We have received a huge amount of interest in our work from our partners and plenty of positive feedback. The visits to Albania and Croatia in May and June will be a wonderful extension of this work,” he said.