Environmental community charity Groundwork has welcomed today’s speech by David Cameron to transform neglected council estates but has warned that local communities must be at the heart of the development process.
In a wide-ranging speech setting out the Government’s strategy to improve people’s life chances, the Prime Minister outlined Government's plans to regenerate inner-city housing estates to the tune of £140m. The funding will be made available to community groups, housing associations and councils, in a scheme led by an Estate Regeneration Advisory panel chaired by Lord Heseltine.
Lord Heseltine was a key figure in establishing Groundwork over 30 years ago, sharing the view that by providing communities with effective tools to transform where they live they can proactively and effectively improve their quality of life and in turn create striving and thriving places to live.
In response to today's announcement, Groundwork UK CEO, Graham Duxbury, said:
“It’s good to see the Prime Minister turning the spotlight back onto regeneration and setting out plans for improving the fabric of our urban areas. As Lord Heseltine’s panel sets to work it’s vital that they learn the lessons from previous programmes. In particular we need to ensure that regeneration is community-led not developer-led. Many estates desperately need redevelopment but for the residents they can often be full of memories, relationships and community spirit. The best regeneration gives the people who live in an area a real voice and a real stake in how their neighbourhoods are improved."
Vacant Lot Project
One of the ways in which Groundwork has helped build community comradery in inner-city areas is the Vacant Lot Project that has helped to establish 20 new community allotments on London's housing estates, providing a create solution to growing fresh food for residents in social housing where outdoor spaces are limited. 85% of residents got involved with the project, that not only created a brighter, more inviting space for the community, but also created a space in which residents could get to know each other and build relationships.
Groundwork is committed to tackling the issues highlighted in today's speech, by supporting people to create a future where everywhere is vibrant and green, every community is strong and able to shape its own destiny and everyone can reach their potential. The charity has pledged to meet the following targets by 2020:
- Improve or maintain 2,500 open spaces
- Motivate 10,000 young people to learn and achieve at school
- Support 15,000 people into training or employment
- Help 100,000 people to reduce their energy and water use
- Support 1,000,000 days of voluntary action to improve local communities
To find out more about how Groundwork is helping to build communities click on the below to hear, Irene's story:
For further information, please visit our website.
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