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£70M REGENERATION FUND AIMS TO LIFT QUALITY OF LIFE IN THE SOUTH EAST'S DEPRIVED AREAS

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A£70m pledge to support community projects across the South East has been made by the South East England Developme...
A£70m pledge to support community projects across the South East has been made by the South East England Development Agency (SEEDA). The aim is to address some of the region's social inequalities and bring tangible improvements to the quality of life for people in neighbourhoods which have been identified as being in urgent need of regeneration.

The investment is being made available through the SEEDA Fund for Regeneration and is directed to a range of projects which directly address issues such as health, employment, education and skills, sustainable regeneration, the growth of local businesses, opportunities for the disadvantaged, as well as tackling crime and drug abuse.

Funds have been awarded to 21 projects across the region and target areas such as the Thames Gateway, Brighton & Hove, Hastings, East Kent, Southampton, Portsmouth and the Isle of Wight. All the projects funded by SEEDA will be delivered by local partnerships of the public, private and voluntary sectors, and closely reflect local community needs.

The inclusion of projects in rural villages and market towns shows the high priority given to tackling social and economic problems in these communities, not just in the major cities and urban areas. The schemes will 'add value' to other initiatives already running, and complement the Regional Economic Strategy for the South East, as well as the Government's recently launched National Strategy for Neighbourhood Renewal.

The results of each project will be measured against a series of 'key outcomes' - ranging from crime reduction, and improved literacy and numeracy, to new business start-ups, new jobs created and increased volunteering in the local community.

SEEDA chief executive Anthony Dunnett said the SEEDA Fund for Regeneration would 'deliver lasting benefits to communities across the region.' He explained: 'The South East has areas of real need which the initiatives benefiting from the SEEDA Fund will tackle head on.

'The projects we are backing will improve the quality of life for many people, addressing problems such as homelessness, drug abuse and community deprivation, and providing job opportunities in disadvantaged communities.'

Notes

1. The SEEDA Fund for Regeneration is financed by the government's Single Regeneration Budget.

2. Minister for the regions, Hilary Armstrong, said: 'This investment will make a visible difference to the lives of people living in deprived areas - making communities safer, improving housing and enhancing skills.'

3. Nationally,£1.2bn of government regeneration funding will help lever a further£1.2 billion from the private sector and over£2bn from other public sector programmes and European funds. 'The SRB is about finding local solutions to local problems', the minister said. 'It is a community-led programme, and the funding announced today will give local people the tools they need to improve their neighbourhoods - making them places people want to live and work in.'

Theprojects backed by the SEEDA Fund for Community Regeneration are:

North Kent Forward -£240,000

The Development of a strategic plan to assist people from deprived local communities to gain maximum benefit from existing and future developments in the North Kent Gateway area.

Swanley - People First -£650,000

A programme of measures including basic skills training, community facilities and advisory services for residents of deprived and geographically isolated estates.

Herne Bay and Whitstable Coastal Regeneration -£1,000,000

A sustainable programme of regeneration initiatives, including a community audit; Community Chest; Credit Union; healthy living initiatives; crime prevention and anti social behaviour initiatives; employment and skills analysis; business support including 'health check' for small businesses.

Dover Urban Regeneration -£2,000,000

Bid for regeneration of 6 wards in and around Dover town. Proposals include transport initiatives; a new Sure Start Centre to support and add value to the Sure Start Partnership; a 'Learning Store' (library, adult/FE, IT and information resource centre and cafe); Community Development, Youth Inclusion programme and a business development strategy.

Thanet Horizons -£10,000,000

This bid links to EU structural funds for Thanet. Proposals include providing training and education tailored to the needs of local firms; opening up development opportunities on key sites; developing an Innovation Centre and environmental improvements and renovation.

East Kent Strategic Area Framework -£50,000

Covering three local authority districts - Dover, Thanet and Canterbury - this project aims to develop a shared understanding of cross-border issues and priorities, particularly the regeneration of coastal towns. The scheme aims to collect and analyse information which will inform the future development of bids for regeneration funding.

Pooling Our Resources: Culture of Inclusion, Eastbourne - £5,000,000

An integrated regeneration scheme focused on Lifeskills, Training and Business Development. These themes will be delivered through outreach activities and will include Credit Unions, community safety initiatives, Development Workers to work with young people and vocational training.

Eastbourne Reborn Partnership

Promoting Social Inclusion in Brighton & Hove -£ 5,000,000

Focusing on three thematic action plans. Capacity building - to provide voluntary organisations, communities and local businesses with resources and support. Community Safety - particularly focusing on substance misuse and the impact of crime on victims. Lifelong Learning - enabling the provision of community based basic skills and IT training.

Coastal Renaissance in East Sussex -£200,000

First step towards developing an Investment Framework for the E. Sussex coast, involving the preparation of a regeneration strategy and costed action plans to address economic marginalisation and social exclusion. Bid includes proposals for the development of an Enterprise Hub network.

Hastings & St Leonards - A Sea Change -£10,000,000

Supporting an integrated regeneration scheme focussing on creation of and access to new job opportunities; and community development; reducing crime/community safety and anti-social behaviour; improving health, and evaluating and adding value to existing regeneration activities.

Ryde 2000 -£6,250,000

Provides a package of activities covering businesses development, unemployment and skills, social inclusion and the physical infrastructure to regenerate Ryde to realise its potential as an asset to the Isle of Wight and the South East.

Connecting Paulsgrove and Wymering -£2,090,000

Aims to tackle the issues of inadequate access to services and facilities by 'connecting up' these isolated communities with the rest of Portsmouth. Key elements include facilitating access to IT skills; offering easy access to the internet and using technology to promote community contact and support.

Connecting Communities: The Wecock and Rowner Compact -£2,500,000

Covering two communities, totaling some 11,000 persons, in Gosport and Havant, the project aims to address areas such as health; training; worklessness; debt advice; personal development; community pride and raising aspirations.

Turning the Tide: A Bright Coastal Future -£6,950,000

Aims to develop a strategy covering most of the West Sussex coastal strip. Target areas are Bognor Regis, Littlehampton, Selsey and Worthing. Proposed activities include debt and housing advice; ICT training; community transport and crime reduction initiatives.

Southampton Community Futures -£15,000,000

Regeneration strategy for the Outer Shirley and Weston areas of Southampton. The Bid aims to tackle social, physical and economic exclusion and raise aspirations of local residents through raising educational attainment, improving access to lifelong learning and new skills, improving health, improving youth provision, reducing crime and increasing community involvement.

Thames Valley Social Enterprise -£1,770,000

Developing improved networks to encourage innovation and good practice; improve opportunities for disadvantaged groups and develop community businesses and social enterprise. Four local enterprise centres in Oxford, Reading, Slough & High Wycombe.

Promoting Regional Race Equality, Diversity And Social Inclusion -£100,000

Evaluation of the achievements and methodology of an existing project in Slough, looking at the potential for widening its remit to other areas. The current project is aimed at training, education and information for employers to address issues of equality, diversity and social inclusion in the workplace and to improve recruitment, training and retention of black and ethnic minority employees.

Community Development & Training Partnership -£100,000

This region-wide project includes the promotion of best practice in capacity building; skills exchange; a web site; development programmes; management and organisational programmes and social change programmes.

Able To Do Business -£100,000

Developing a business plan to explore the suitability of developing a derelict former hospital near Maidstone into a facility that encourages the development of social firms across the region, and enables people with disabilities to develop transferable skills to start their own businesses.

Rural Towns, Rural Life -£700,000

Aims to develop and promote support mechanisms for the regeneration of rural market towns. Initiatives will include financial support for local demonstration projects (eg environmental improvements, shop loyalty cards) and the region wide exchange of information and good practice.

Medway Innovation Centre -£300,000

Appointing a team to facilitate partnership between business, Further Education colleges and schools, and disadvantaged communities in Medway towns that will address skills gaps and needs in the business community.

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