Headlines: October 22nd, 2002

The government has announced an ambitious plan to help widen the skills of all those involved in trying to improve deprived neighbourhoods, including local government officers and councillors.A special website ‘Renewal.net’ has been launched as the central element of a 23-point action plan which targets people working to transform some of England’s poorest areas. Residents, councillors, local and central government officials and regeneration practitioners will all be involved.

The plan, called “The Learning Curve” acknowledges that the gaps in regeneration skills and knowledge need to be filled in different ways at national regional and local levels.

The Neighbourhood Renewal Minister, Barbara Roche, said, ” This plan sets out a wide range of measures to help more people develop their skills and learn from what works best in regeneration. It recognises that no one size fits all. Different people need different learning methods.”

The plan will take forward the 22 million pound skills and knowledge programme launched last December with the aim of putting in place a comprehensive development and learning strategy for neighbourhood renewal.

The Learning Curve sets out a number of key actions including setting up a new on-line management system, providing face-to-face renewal advisers and supporting the development of regional centres of excellence.

‘Renewal.net’ already contains more than 250 documents on ways of bringing about renewal, including case studies. In the future it will host regular discussion forums. Barbara Roche said, ” For the first time ever, evidence on how to improve health, housing and education, how to create jobs, how to reduce crime, has been brought together in a clear and accessible form targeted at those doing neighbourhood renewal on the ground.”