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Welfare Reform on the Web (August 2008): Community regeneration and development - UK

DIY community action: neighbourhood problems and community self-help

L. Richardson

Bristol: Policy Press, 2008

How people can be persuaded to take more control of their own lives continues to be a subject of policy and academic debate, and the contribution of active citizens to improving societal well-being is high in different policy agendas. But the promotion of community self-help raises a wide range of questions - for people working in neighbourhoods, for policy makers, for politicians, and for residents themselves - about how to promote engagement, what would motivate people to become active, and more fundamentally about the ongoing relevance and value of community activity. This book offers thought-provoking answers to these questions, based on detailed real-life evidence from over 100 community groups, each trying to combat neighbourhood problems. It presents a lively challenge to the existing thinking on contested debates, and proposes ways forward for community building.

Explaining about . building to last

P. Cann

Working with Older People, vol. 12, June 2008, p. 9-11

The ability of older people to live independent lives in the community is under threat from loss and degradation of local services, including closures of post offices, banks, public toilets, convenience stores, pharmacies and garages. This article describes the work of the charity Help the Aged in lobbying and campaigning for improvements in the light of population ageing.

More than one dimension to community cohesion

V. Russell

Public Finance, June 20th-26th 2008, p. 16-17

Promoting community cohesion presents local authorities with a huge challenge, most obviously due to the arrival of new waves of migrants. However, divisions can arise due to age, disability and income inequality as well as race and faith.

Weathering the storm

M. Cooper

Public Finance, June 20th-26th 2008, p. 20-23

The current credit crunch, uncertainty in the housing market and slower economic growth could all have an adverse impact on investment in urban regeneration. In order to weather the storm, local authorities and government agencies should:

  • Focus on supporting existing businesses and potential start-ups, building on existing strengths
  • Stimulate the expansion of private rented housing, since fewer people will have a realistic chance of owning their own home
  • Create and empower city-regional Employment and Skills Boards to improve workforce skills

Government could help by creating statutory city-regions based around real economies, with a package of powers and spending freedom, and by making it easier for cities to borrow money to fund major infrastructure projects.

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