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INVESTING IN LEARNING TO RENEW DEPRIVED NEIGHBOURHOODS (ENGLAND)

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An ambitious new plan to help people deliver long-term change to...
An ambitious new plan to help people deliver long-term change to

deprived neighbourhoods has been launched by neighbourhood renewal

minister Barbara Roche.

The plan targets everyone working to transform England's poorest

areas - residents, professionals, regeneration practitioners,

councillors, local and central government officials. It acknowledges

that gaps in regeneration skills and knowledge need filling in

different ways at national, regional and neighbourhood levels.

An innovative new website Renewal.net forms the centrepiece of the 23

point action plan 'The Learning Curve'. Other suggested approaches

to improving people's skills and knowledge include face to face

neighbourhood renewal advisers, regional neighbourhood renewal

networks, interchange projects for civil servants and a comprehensive

learning programme for neighbourhood renewal.

Launching the Learning Curve at Community Links in Canning Town,

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.

'Neighbourhood renewal isn't easy. Being genuinely serious about

improving deprived neighbourhoods means properly investing in the

people working to improve them - providing long-term support for the

long-term delivery on our commitment to our poorest communities.'

The Learning Curve takes forward the£22m skills and knowledge

programme launched last December which promised to put in place a

comprehensive learning and development strategy for neighbourhood

renewal. It has been developed in co- operation with a broad range of

organisations from resident groups, skills providers, local

regeneration partnerships, voluntary groups, service agencies and

government departments.

Also launching a new online neighbourhood guide Renewal.net, Barbara

Roche added:

'Research shows that only 11% of practitioners currently use

evidence when designing, developing and implementing neighbourhood

renewal projects, but 83% would use it if it was available and

accessible. Renewal.net is a landmark project. It will help people

learn from what works and what doesn't, avoiding the mistakes of the

past and improving access to a range of practical information.

'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.'

Renewal.net already contains over 250 new documents on how to do

neighbourhood renewal, including case studies, how-to guides covering

all areas of neighbourhood renewal. It will also provide access to

key policy and guidance documents and host regular discussion forums.

It will evolve and expand as the National Strategy is taken forward.

Welcoming the Learning Curve, David Robinson of Community Links said:

'Successful neighbourhood renewal demands a variety of talents. The

government understands the importance of supplementing local

knowledge and personal understanding with wider skills and

experience. The Learning Curve and Renewal.net will provide

invaluable support for all involved in delivering neighbourhood

renewal.'

Notes

1. For more information and copies of the Learning Curve and its

executive summary visit hereor telephone 020

7944 8383.

2. The skills and knowledge programme - a key part of the National

Strategy for Neighbourhood Renewal - builds on the finding of the

Social Exclusion Unit's Policy Action Team 16 Report, Learning

Lessons, published in 2000, and complements key recommendations of

the Policy Action 2 Report, Skills for Neighbourhood Renewal: Local

solutions, published 1999.

3. The Residents' Consultancy pilot project was also launched last

December, in conjunction with the Department for Education and

Skills.

4. The launch of the Learning Curve and www.renewal.net fulfil

Commitments 99 and 100 of the National Strategy for Neighbourhood

Renewal.

5. Key actions in the Learning Curve, some of which are already

underway, include:

- setting up a new on-line knowledge management system renewal.net;

- providing face-to-face neighbourhood renewal advisers;

- supporting regional neighbourhood renewal networks;

- evaluating residents consultancies;

- supporting the development of regional centres of excellence;

- setting up a new learning programme for neighbourhood renewal, with

a focus on supporting residents

- supporting residents through local learning centres in priority

neighbourhoods;

- giving civil servants on the ground experience through

interchange;;

- working with Government Offices and local partnerships to help them

access the learning they need to support local delivery; and

- piloting a programme of organisational change with LSPs and their

partner organisations

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