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Welfare Reform on the Web (April 2006): Community Regeneration and Development - UK

CDFIs: coming of age?

S. McGeehan

Local Economy, vol.21, 2006, p.84-90

Community development finance institutions (CDFIs) aim to offer access to finance for businesses and individuals who cannot get loans from commercial banks. Beyond this, they aim to create social change through the finance and services that they offer. They not only provide finance but also support enterprise opportunities, increase financial literacy, contribute to the overall regeneration of communities and seek a variety of social returns on the finance and advice they offer.

M. Ledwith

Bristol: Policy Press, 2005

The book advocates a critical approach to community development that locates theory in practice, emphasising its transformative rather than ameliorative potential. Dimensions of practice ranging from the personal to the political, and the local to the global, are addressed in relation to current crises of poverty, justice and sustainability.

Community development finance: a neo-market solution to social exclusion?

A. Affleck and M. Mellor

Journal of Social Policy, vol.35, 2006, p.303-319

Community development finance institutions aim to solve the problem of social disadvantage by fostering community, social and individual enterprise. They claim to aid regeneration by bridging a perceived “gap” in enterprise finance for poorer communities. They also aim to build up the social enterprise sector through loan finance. Through these activities they aim to create social change, though the nature of the change is ill-defined. The CDFIs and government regeneration policies place much faith in the potential economic vitality of deprived communities. However, it is not clear that encouraging enterprise and self-help will build vibrant communities.

K. Popple

British Journal of Social Work, vol.36, 2006, p.333-340

The value of community development has been recognised by New Labour as a vehicle for its work in tackling social exclusion, educational underachievement, ill health, poor housing and crime. However the government’s agenda is predicated on its adherence to neo-liberal economic policy and to neighbourhoods responding to programmes in the prescribed manner. Where communities are at odds with New Labour and contest their modernising policies, they can be sidelined. This can place community development workers in difficult situations where they have to balance their responsibilities to their employers with their duty to respond to the expressed needs of their communities.

P.A. Jones

Local Economy, vol.21, 2006, p.36-48

Credit unions have been regarded since the 1980s as offering a solution to the financial exclusion suffered by deprived communities. However, in spite of significant public investment, membership growth was slow. The root of this problem was traced to the fact that most community credit unions had been established according to a particular social development model which was not conducive to expansion. However, since this problem was recognised in the late 1990s, credit unions have been transforming themselves into modern market-oriented, community-owned not-for-profit financial institutions, with a capacity to combat financial exclusion effectively.

A good place for children? Attracting and retaining families in inner urban mixed income communities

E. Silverman, R. Lupton and A. Fenton

Chartered Institute of Housing, 2006

Governments across the UK are promoting “mixed and balanced communities” and mixed income new communities (MINCS) are now being built in most cities, either to regenerate deprived areas or to ensure that social housing is provided alongside market-rate homes in new private developments. Better off families have an important role to play in renewal, especially if the goals include improving schools and other opportunities for low-income children. This study examined four inner city MINCS and investigated whether families were living in the private sector homes and their motivation for so doing. It found that families were attracted to MINCS by safe, clean, and friendly neighbourhoods, with good schools and open spaces enabling children to play. A unified appearance across the buildings of the site (integrating social and market rate housing), neighbourhood staffing and effective strategic management were all important. Community development was key. However, many families intended to leave MINCS, due to lack of homes for sale that larger households could afford to buy.

C. C. Williams

Local Economy, vol.21, 2006, p.13-24

Government now acknowledges that many micro-entrepreneurs and self-employed people thrive in the sphere of undeclared work and that they constitute a hidden reserve of entrepreneurial talent that needs to be harnessed by economic and community development practitioners. Article analyses Street UK, a community development finance initiative that seeks to promote and harness this untapped enterprise.

G. Hannah

Social Work, vol51, 2006, p.9-17

The activities of community initiatives in deprived areas generally centre around two tasks: 1) producing tangible outputs such as new affordable housing, new businesses and improved social services and 2) capacity building which attempts to increase a community’s ability to act on its own behalf to address its needs. Many initiatives struggle with how to balance these two goals with limited resources. Projects are pushed towards producing tangible outputs at the expense of capacity building by funders’ preferences, implementation demands and the power dynamics between stakeholders.

E. Drever

Local Economy, vol.21, 2006, p.4-12

The UK government’s local enterprise growth initiative seeks to promote regeneration in deprived areas through enterprise and entrepreneurship. This article considers some of the key issues that must be tackled if the initiative is to be successful, focusing on the circumstances of the London Borough of Lewisham. It assesses whether it is possible to build on an area’s competitive economic advantages while reaching out to the most vulnerable groups. An assessment is also made of the advantages of local government delivery, and of the capacity of local authorities to deliver the initiative.

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