Chapter 1 - Forward, Summary and Vision


This time New Deal for Communities really means it. A community fragmented by past local council decisions, main roads and the ever present Dockyard wall, but now a community with a reason to work together. Not just the workers and activists who have tried in the past, the whole community. Years of vast amounts of money spent on regeneration, SRB, PDC, all the initials in the world, but as far as local residents are concerned, NO CHANGE! This time we will decide, many agencies and organisations will help us, but we will lead. This time the people suffering from the problems will be part of the solution, a real part, a major part. The extract below empowers us and helps guide our vision.

"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small doesn't serve the world. There's nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We were all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; It's in everyone! And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others". Nelson Mandela (Part of his inaugural speech, 1994 South Africa.)

It is with those thoughts in mind that we know we will make a difference, a true and lasting difference and that this initiative will enable people to feel a sense of ownership, not just of the change, but also of the 'Community' that will exist thereafter. The Devonport Five.

A fresh breeze through Devonport,
Nudging our People's Dreams,
With a bit of faith and back-up
They're nearer than it seems-
Everyone working together
Residents having their say,
Agencies and services,
Our partnerships' on the way.
Don't give us your pie-in-the-sky talk,
Things are already improved
With a lot of offers of effort

Summary and Vision

Devonport is a distinct and diverse community which exhibits all the signs of multiple deprivation and exclusion. The scale of deprivation revealed in our baseline information shows a growing gap between Devonport and elsewhere; the way services are currently provided can clearly be seen to be failing the residents of Devonport. Our community is determined to take action to achieve much greater influence on what happens in the area to address the issues of poor educational performance, (significantly below that of both Plymouth and the whole country), poor basic skill levels, unemployment levels (at twice the average for Plymouth), low levels of economic activity, an average income of under £8,000 per household, poor housing conditions, very poor health and high levels of crime. Our community has experienced a number of unsuccessful attempts to address a spiral of decline. This plan is different, we intend it to succeed.

Over the past 10 months local people have come together and worked very hard to decide collectively what goes into the Plan and how the changes needed should be delivered. (A 'timeline' of the steps we have taken is attached at Appendix G). The Partnership has carried out extensive consultation and research to develop a genuinely community-led approach to the development of the Plan. The result is, we believe, an approach to regeneration that is distinctive, that is tailored to the specific needs of Devonport and which will ultimately see the aspirations of our community raised to new heights. Priorities have been determined through local option appraisal to give us our key themes and activities and the long-term outcomes we will seek to achieve.

What do we want to achieve?

  • We want to create a community with ample skills and resources, within which residents participate fully in the mainstream economy and society generally and by doing so ensure that the changes we achieve will be sustainable into the future.
  • We want to manage things locally and have local democratic accountability.
  • We want to build on the richness and cultural diversity of our existing community, to celebrate our differences and to become a model of best practice, which can be shared, both across the City and beyond.
  • We want to create a community where everyone is valued for who they are and be enabled to live to their full potential; a community which has reconciled the past, makes the most of the present, has hope for the future and knows that it is special in the sight of God

How will we achieve this?

We recognise that reversing the cycle of decline in Devonport is a major challenge. There are many initiatives which have failed to make an impact on the quality of people's lives and it is now vitally important that we learn from those failures. The Partnership recognises, right from the outset that to achieve lasting change in Devonport is not only about resources, important though they are, but about all partners thinking and acting differently. We are challenging both ourselves and others to bring a new honesty and accountability to the regeneration of our community. In particular we recognise the following to be key to the success of our programme:

  • That public service delivery must be much more accountable to the communities at which it is targeted.
  • That long-term sustainability lies in influencing the planning, design and delivery of mainstream services to improve their quality, efficiency and integration.
  • That successful regeneration brings both rights and responsibilities to service providers and communities alike.
  • That coordination, linkage and integration of existing service and initiatives is key to improving their quality and impact.
  • That overcoming long-term problems will require innovation as well as resources.
  • That delivery of the programme must avoid the fragmention and inefficient use of resources by moving comletely away from a 'bid and deliver" culture.

New Deal for Communities Devonport is a new style of partnership and requires a long-term commitment of all partners to doing things better. New ways of working will be implemented, to bring together partners, their policies, practices, decision-making, service delivery and budgets to address the problems in Devonport and to provide value for money solutions to meet our chosen long-term goals. Devonport has already begun to create a new working environment based on problem solving and collaboration.

What outcomes will we achieve?

By setting out to meet the existing aspirations of our community and by setting in place a wide range of innovative initiatives which will address our core problems in a cohesive way, we hope to secure genuine, sustainable community regeneration. During the 10 year programme, long-term outcomes, as identified by the Partnership, will be achieved in education, employment, housing, local management, crime, health, culture, full community decision making and participation.

Specifically, improved performance at Key Stage 2 amongst Devonport's schools to a level above the national average; increased levels of working age residents in economic activity to above the Plymouth average; reduced levels of turnover and voids in the housing stock to a level below the Plymouth average; to put in place effective mechanisms for community based Neighbourhood Management; reduced incidence of crime to a level below the Plymouth average; working towards the national target to reduce death rates amongst those under 75 years of age (from heart disease/strokes by more than 40%; from all cancers by more than 20%); doubled levels of satisfaction of residents with sporting, recreational and cultural opportunities available; increased proportion of residents who feel they have an influence over decisions being made about their area to 90% of the population; minority groups, especially black and ethnic minority groups, fully engaged in Devonport and other regeneration processes; effective mechanisms to engage young people with the wider community and in the regeneration of Devonport set in place.

The ultimate outcome is for Devonport People to dare to dream - for Devonport People's Dreams to become the reality which matches mainstream spending and service provision more closely to local residents' needs and aspirations.

What are we going to do?

Within NDC we aim to tackle the key challenges facing the community but also to grasp positively the opportunities that are already available. Our priorities for change within Devonport, the key areas where funding will have the greatest impact, have been identified through analysis of our baseline information and are as follows:

Breaking the Poverty Cycle -by improving education for all and developing employment opportunities.
Building Sustainable Neighbourhoods - by improving the physical environment, increasing local management and providing additionality to housing improvements.
Creating a Healthy and Safe Environment - for all sections of the community.
Community Involvement - A New Deal, paying particular attention to excluded and vulnerable groups and, in particular, recognising the discrimination which is suffered by members of minority groups.
Promoting Devonport's Young People - The Key To The Future, at the heart of the Plan and its delivery.

Chapters ...
1. Forward, Summary; Vision
2. Devonport - Our neighbourhood
3. Devonport - The Present
4. Devonport - The Future
5. Devonport - The Plans
6. The Forward Strategy
7. How the Plan will be Delivered