Headlines: April 3rd, 2006

The search has begun to find inspirational projects that are judged to be making a difference to the lives of local people, with the launch of the Deputy Prime Minister’s Award for Sustainable Communities 2006. This year the award is being managed by the Academy for Sustainable Communities.Last year’s winner was a scheme to regenerate Attwood Green in Birmingham, which transformed former run down estates into attractive places to live and work. Previous winners are the Grange Park Community Project in Blackpool, where a deprived neighbourhood was revitalised to create a mixed community, and the Penwerris Estate in Falmouth, Cornwall where residents set up a tenants’ association to fix local housing, improve public health, and clean up their environment.

Announcing this year’s awards, John Prescott said schemes entering the competition were showing how the Government’s Sustainable Communities Plan was being turned from vision to reality across England. “The tremendous achievements of these projects show how the idea of sustainable communities is making a real difference to people’s lives up and down the country,” he said.

The Deputy Prime Minister said the response to the awards last year had demonstrated the huge amount of work happening to create thriving and sustainable communities. “It is vital we take the opportunity to effectively share the lessons learnt from these projects. That’s why I am announcing that the 2006 Award will be managed by the Academy for Sustainable Communities, to ensure that everyone can learn from this success, ” he said.

For the Academy its chairman, Professor Peter Roberts, said it was clear that genuine sustainable communities would be delivered only by learning from one another, so it was vital that everything possible was done to give people opportunities to exchange knowledge and share experience. Organisations and projects that wish to be considered for this year’s awards should first e-mail their contact details to <mailto:dpmaward@bura.org.uk>. The award criteria include demonstrating the active commitment of the community, be environmentally sensitive, well designed and well-built.