A few weeks ago I found myself looking around another town that had fallen on hard times. I was surrounded by fragments of a place once bustling and successful, looking at green spaces that had no function, iconic pubs now boarded up and new build homes tucked away behind neat walls. A common sight for many of us across the country.
However, it is important to remember that these are still places of opportunity - a chance for transformation through both people and place, for the better and for the good.
Across the public sector, place-based change is back. It is no longer good enough to ‘help people into work’, the narrative has changed to ‘helping people in a certain place into work’. This analogy can be applied to health, housing and crime interventions too.
For me, every place has eight key ingredients; jobs and skills, social and cultural activity, housing and buildings, equality and fairness, transport and connectivity, ecology and environment, services and governance.
At The Regenda Group, our team know how to regenerate places using these ingredients and we operate a ‘think and do’ place-based resilience approach.
Firstly, we put meeting residents’ needs at the very centre of our thinking, empowering them to take a leading role in governing what goes on in their place and within their community.
We then work with our long term partners, who we know share similar values, and together we challenge ourselves to think about the interventions we can make and how we can make them.
In Fleetwood, we have secured DCLG Estate Regeneration funding to develop a spatial master plan which joins up planned investments in our assets with health and wellbeing outcomes for residents.
We have identified a series of green space projects to encourage residents on their journey to social inclusion and wellbeing. The master plan has also helped us to identify new sites for housing, potentially bringing new business opportunities forward.
In Oldham, we are working with local partners to refresh a 10 year regeneration Vision for Limehurst and Hollinwood.
In the first five years, the area has seen over 100 people supported into full time employment, seven green spaces improved, 145 mixed tenure homes being built, the opening of a major new community sports facility and about £30m of investment.
Regeneration, if done properly with residents at the centre, can help places and people become more resilient through time, transforming those places I described earlier into thriving communities.
We can use place making to drive forward new business opportunities for our organisations and partners, with pioneering and profitable investments linked to residents’ needs.
Written by Chris Standish - Regeneration and Place Manager
If you’d like to know more about The Regenda Group’s regeneration services, contact Chris Standish on Christopher.Standish@regenda.org.uk