Opportunities to reshape mainstream public services in deprived
areas could be lost if neighbourhood renewal grants are withdrawn
in 2006, regeneration experts have warned.
Neighbourhood Renewal Fund (NRF) has committed nearly £1.9bn
to 88 deprived districts over five years. But several projects face
a “funding cliff” if the NRF is discontinued in two years as
planned, according to a report from the economic development
company Greater London Enterprise (GLE).
Ending the NRF risks a return to the view that problems of crime,
housing, social care, health and achievement can be treated in
isolation, it warns.
Aside from the NRF, several key local initiatives, such as Drug
Action Teams, Employment Zones and Sure Start, are also due to end
between now and 2006. “The simultaneous loss of NRF and other
area-based initiatives would be likely to result in substantial
funding gaps in many localities,” the GLE says.
Local authorities are also concerned that winding down the NRF
programme would damage the influence and effectiveness of local
strategic partnerships and put cross-agency work at risk, the
A key aim of the NRF is to use small projects to influence the
direction of mainstream services locally. However, in the first few
years, NRFmoney was often used to plug funding gaps in mainstream
services, the report says.
The agency, which is owned by the London boroughs and helps deliver
regeneration in the capital, finds that areas receiving NRF funds
only did better than non-funded areas in GCSE exam results and
domestic burglary rates, but not on measures such as life
Turning Neighbourhoods Around from www.gle.co.uk