This project proves the benefits of a holistic approach to regeneration, aiming to address the social, economic, health and emotional needs of local residents.
Perry Common is a former 'outer-estate' of 1920s council houses that were constructed with defective materials. The area is undergoing a massive redevelopment, with nearly one thousand council houses having been demolished in the last ten years.
A once strongly cohesive community has been fractured as families have been displaced elsewhere across the city during the demolition and construction phase. Although there was much physical and material regeneration occurring in the Perry Common area it was felt by local residents that the human needs of the community had been disregarded.
The Perry Common Regeneration Partnership was established to improve the quality of life for residents through meeting their social, economic, health and emotional needs. The initiative is owned, run and managed by local residents in partnership with the local Anglican Church.
Liisa Richardson, a local resident herself, was appointed as a Community Outreach Officer in 2001. Through various community consultations and ‘Planning for Real’ events the partnership built trust and connections with the community. They have also acted as a broker between local residents and service providers.
The partnership is now pursing a three pronged strategy to address the needs of local residents. First, a one-stop community shop has been established as an open and welcoming sign-posting service between residents and professional services. The community shop serves the needs of an estimated 70 residents per month. Early evaluation suggests these are residents who haven’t been reached by other community consultation processes. A number of courses are run from the community shop including smoking cessation, literacy, numeracy, and sexual health clinics as well as youth groups. The partnership's second strategy involves employing Ronnie, an Employment and Training worker, to act as a broker between local adult education providers and the community at a grass-roots level. In the first six months over 60 local residents have undertaken adult learning courses - over 50% of these had no formal qualifications. The third prong will involve employing a parish nurse who will be a registered qualified nurse but who integrates nursing with a holistic Christian whole person approach to health.
The partnership has made a significant contribution to the area. 43% of residents stated in 2003 that they like living in the area (an increase from 37% in the baseline survey of 2001). This change is felt to be the result of extensive community consultation and engagement, the development of employment and training opportunities, and the development of social and community initiatives including a Community Choir which has performed at national events.
By maximising the involvement of residents and ensuring that they are positioned to take on regeneration work for themselves, the Perry Common Regeneration Partnership is responding to local need and celebrating local resourcefulness.
WINNER, REGENWM MOST TRANSFERABLE PROJECT, 2004