Cass CCE makes recommendations for regeneration projects

Cass Business School’s Centre for Charity Effectiveness has published a series of recommendations following a review of the Prince’s Charities ‘Place’ initiative – an urban regeneration project in four of Britain’s poorest areas.

Dr Peter Grant, lecturer in Voluntary Sector Management, Cass Business School was commissioned by The Prince of Wales’ Charitable Foundation to review the ‘Place Project’ and develop an integrated evaluation framework to demonstrate both the individual outputs in each area and provide an overall picture of the impact of the project.

Recommendations for future urban regeneration projects include extending key stakeholders beyond the Prince’s Charities to include significant national organisations; having a clear framework of objectives at both national and local level; and having ‘buy in’ at the most senior level with host local authorities.

The Prince’s Charities Place initiative is an innovative approach to the regeneration of significantly deprived areas in the UK. It aims to deliver positive benefits to some of the most disadvantaged communities through the joint, co‐ordinated collaboration of the Prince’s Charities and local partners.

Dr Peter Grant said: “Making sustainable places is one of the greatest challenges of the 21st century and our success or failure to do this will impact millions if not billions of people’s lives. The work undertaken by The Prince’s Charities is based on HRH’s belief that entrenched social problems need an integrated response.

“The Prince’s Charities are uniquely placed to bring together core expertise, skills and ability to work across the public, private and voluntary sectors. This review sought to document the impact of the Place project so far and to make recommendations for future urban regeneration projects.”

Following successful work in Burnley, the Place Project has been working in three other areas – Burslem (Stoke‐on‐ Trent), Redcar/Middlesbrough and Tottenham ‐ to deliver sustainable physical and social regeneration over a three‐year period.

The framework for the review drew on the experience of Burnley which prioritised:

  • Supporting the regeneration of the built environment, especially the heritage buildings.
  • Raising educational performance, achievement and aspiration in schools.
  • Developing enterprise in the town and supporting local businesses.
  • Supporting opportunities for young people to give them the skills to move into the labour market.
  • Promoting community cohesion and developing the appreciation of a multi‐faith, mixed heritage community.
  • Instilling local pride and creating a positive image in the region and nationally for the town to become attractive for investors and big employers.
  • Promoting the value of a healthy lifestyle and helping the town to be more sustainable.

The review was based on information collected through the Frameworks and supplemented with 70 semi‐structured interviews with key staff and partners engaged in the Place initiative.

Interviews with staff and partners for the review highlight the positive impact the project has had in their area.

Rev Ashley Cooper, Swan Bank Methodist Church, Burslem said:  “The Prince’s Charities have given new life to a community that was struggling to find its future and know where it fitted. They have given the town an opportunity to say we can be reborn, we can have a future and we can, with other people’s help, look forward rather than just look backward. We can look at bigger projects and dream bigger dreams.”

Neil Appleby, Headteacher, Rye Hills School, Redcar said: “The involvement of the Prince’s Charities has been key. It’s enabled there to be a skill set that just wouldn’t have been possible otherwise. Without a doubt this has been better than any other scheme that I’m aware of and I’ve been in teaching for 15, 16 years.”

Dr Peter Grant added: “The Place work aims to leave a legacy and genuine partnerships in each area both by forming new relationships but also by ensuring relevant links with wider strategies and government initiatives to achieve impact at national level. This collaborative approach is helping transform lives and build sustainable communities and we believe the recommendations made in this review will be of huge benefit as the Places model is introduced to other deprived areas.

“The impact of the initiative and the evaluation are already significant. The CabinetOffice has agreed a long-term secondment programme for senior civil servants to continue the ‘Place’ work through Business in the Community and the Welsh Government have initiated a programme ‘Cynefin’ based on the initiative,” concludes Mr Grant.

For more information and to download a copy of the review visit: http://www.cass.city.ac.uk/research-and-faculty/centres/centre-for-charity-effectiveness/news

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