The Welsh Assembly Government has developed a new regeneration strategy to move away from capacity building and towards a focus on outcomes. The change comes after consultation on Communities First, the current regeneration programme. The new programme Communities Next, will ensure that there is a practical response to the challenge of community regeneration and social justice objectives such as child poverty.
The new programme differs from Community First, because it is long term, with a life of at least ten years. It will also allow local people to decide for themselves what is needed. They will be helped to make it happen and funding will be brought in from a range of sources. Monitoring arrangements will make sure that improvements happen. Flexibility and risk-taking will be encouraged so that new ways of dealing with problems can be developed. Partnership working across the public, private and third sectors will also be central to success.
Communities Next will begin in April 2009. In the period up to the launch evidence will be gathered from successful communities that are working with other partners such as local authorities and local health boards to deliver programmes. Learning from projects which are enhancing community safety and regeneration to reduce levels of crime, alcohol and drug abuse, and domestic violence, will feed into Communities Next.
The Welsh Index of Multiple Deprivation is used to target the most deprived areas of Wales. The Index divides Wales into some 1900 areas. Information is analysed to give a measure of the level of deprivation. The sort of information used includes the number of claims for Working Families’ Tax Credit, people with a limiting long-term illness, adults with low or no qualifications and houses with no central heating.