Projects in doubt as funding due to end.

    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    areas could be lost if neighbourhood renewal grants are withdrawn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
    report says.

    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
    expectancy.

    Turning Neighbourhoods Around from www.gle.co.uk

     

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