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Welfare Reform on the Web (February 2005): Community Regeneration and Development UK

A CRITICAL EVALUATION OF HIERARCHICAL REPRESENTATION OF COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT: SOME LESSONS FROM THE UK

C.C. Williams

Community Development Journal, vol.40, 2005, p.30-38

The UK government currently regards participation in community groups as a "mature" form of involvement while one-to-one aid has a lesser status. However, one-to-one aid is far more prevalent in deprived communities than formal group involvement. Paper questions whether it is sensible for the government to encourage formal group involvement, a participatory culture foreign to the majority of the population of disadvantaged areas, and to ignore the further development of the culture of engagement already widely used.

EXPLORING COMMUNITY RESPONSES TO DRUGS

M. Shiner, B. Thom and S. MacGregor

Joseph Rowntree Foundation, 2004

Reports that attempts to involve local communities in drug and alcohol policy are in their infancy. Based on a survey of nearly 40 drug action teams, study identifies several factors which mitigate against community involvement. Chief among these is the difficulty of constructing an effective framework for community involvement. High visibility policing is the main tool used to tackle drugs problems and communities are relegated to acting as the eyes and ears of the law. Report concludes that for successful community involvement, professionals and non-professionals need to work together in partnership.

HARNESSING THE COMMUNITY SECTOR: A CRITICAL EVALUATION OF THE THIRD SECTOR APPROACH

C.C. Williams

Community, Work and Family, vol.8, 2005, p.37-51

Paper critically evaluates the current policy approach which seeks to cultivate the community sector by developing existing groups. Analysis of data from the 2000 General Household Survey and a case study of the community sector in rural England show that participation in community groups is relatively alien to lower-income populations. In order to improve the material circumstances of these populations, an approach that cultivates their prevailing culture of one-to-one mutual aid is required.

MICROFINANCE, THE LABOUR MARKET AND SOCIAL INCLUSION: A TALE OF THREE CITIES

P. Mosley and L. Steel

Social Policy and Administration, vol.38, 2004, p.721-743

Since the 1980s there has been pressure on government to control the cost of social protection. One way of so doing is through self-financing loans to the low-income self-employed (microfinance). Paper focuses on the impact of microfinance schemes on poverty based on a small-scale survey carried out in three UK cities. It estimates that each loan studied was responsible fro 0.67 exits from unemployment over the years 2000-02. The loans examined also saved about £0.4m in social security payments. The tentative conclusion is that most loans examined hit the target of the "financially excluded but bankable" and exerted an impact on poverty through the labour market and through helping to build social networks that reduce interpersonal risk.

POVERTY, NEIGHBOURHOOD RENEWAL AND THE VOLUNTARY AND COMMUNITY SECTOR IN WEST CORNWALL

S. Cemlyn, E. Fahmy and D. Gordon

Community Development Journal, vol.40, 2005, p.76-85

The UK government's National Strategy for Neighbourhood Renewal outlines a key role for voluntary and community groups in facilitating regeneration strategies in the 88 Priority Areas identified by the Neighbourhood Renewal Fund. Paper draws on a series of interviews with a range of participants involved in the West Cornwall Neighbourhood Renewal Partnership in order to explore the challenges and obstacles to effective community sector involvement in regeneration initiatives.

URBAN POLICY IN THE NEW SCOTLAND: THE ROLE OF SOCIAL INCLUSION PARTNERSHIPS

C. McWilliams, C. Johnstone and G. Mooney

Space and Polity, vol.8, 2004, p.309-319

Paper explores how far recent urban regeneration policies of the Scottish Executive, especially Social Inclusion Partnerships (SIPs) are influenced by, or diverge from, strategies pursued by previous Conservative and Labour administrations. It also considers how far urban social policy, in a Scottish context, continues to be characterised by discourses of area/community pathology. A case study of the Greater Pollok SIP allows the authors to examine the extent to which "community involvement" under New Labour's Social Inclusion Partnership initiative is markedly different from the recent Conservative government's urban policies in Scotland.

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