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Community empowerment is the key to successful urban regeneration, says a report published by the Local Government ...
Community empowerment is the key to successful urban regeneration, says a report published by the Local Government Information Unit.

The report Capacity Building Programme for urban regeneration: Sandwell Case Study gives an account of Sandwell's successful bid to secure over£7m of government funding for urban regeneration.

The total programme value is£31.036m -£7.191m coming from the second round of bidding for Single Regeneration Budget funds and the balance coming from other contributions from the public and private sectors and 'in kind' investment from the community sector.

Sandwell MBC's bid is based on the theme of 'community capacity building' which seeks to put in place the building blocks upon which the Regeneration Strategy and other programmes in Sandwell will be sustained. 'Capacity building' describes the process of providing communities with the skills, education, training and resources to develop their potential. It is about helping to create the infrastructure that will enable communities to help themselves.

The process involved in developing the bid has in itself contributed positively to capacity building. The voluntary and community sectors, including ethnic minority groups, have been key partners in the development and preparation of the bid.

The report describes:

-- the bid and the wider regeneration strategy within which it is based

-- the role of key agencies such as Sandwell MBC, Black Country Development Corporation and Sandwell Health Authority

-- the delivery structure for the programme

-- community involvement in the process of developing the bid

-- assessment of the various projects that make up the bid and monitoring of the whole programme

LGIU director Dennis Reed says:

'At the end of the programme in the year 2003 local people in Sandwell should be better involved in taking the decisions that affect their lives. They should have better access to and be better able to influence main programme resources to meet the need of their own communities. They should be better placed to win contracts for the delivery of services that meet their needs. The extent to which these aims are met will have an important impact on the potential in Sandwell for creating sustainable development through urban regeneration'.

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