Headlines: December 5th, 2008

Community leaders are being urged to look to the future and to build on the success of the New Deal for Communities programme over the past ten years. The programme is due to end in 2010 and the Government has published new guidance in an effort to ensure deprived communities continue to be improved after that date.

The call to local leaders has come from the Communities Minister, Baroness Andrews, who said the legacy of the New Deal must not be lost. The new guidance highlights ways in which projects are continuing to turn around the most deprived areas of the country. In particular it details how projects are encouraging greater community involvement and more engagement with mainstream agencies, such as the Primary Care Trusts, in the delivery of local services.

Under the programme two billion pounds has been allocated to 39 projects to improve the quality of life and opportunities for local people. It has seen 17,000 people gaining employment, the creation of 3,000 additional childcare places and improvements in educational achievement. Thirty seven per cent of children in NDC areas achieved five or more GCSEs in 2005, compared with 26 per cent in 2002. The programme also has a good track record in involving local people with almost 60 per cent of NDC board members being local residents.

Baroness Andrews said the programme had made a real difference to people in some of the poorest parts of the country but she added, “Too many people still suffer from the cycle of deprivation, and it is vital that the 39 NDC areas ensure that this legacy is not lost and that they build on this success.”