Chapter 4 - The Future

Ch. 4 Contents
Theme 1: Breaking the Poverty cycle
Theme 2: Building Sustainable Neighbourhoods
Theme 3: Creating A Healthy And Safe Environment
Theme 4: Community Involvement
Theme 5. Promoting Devonport's Young People


Our baseline assessment provides a comprehensive picture of economic and social conditions in Devonport through a wide range of statistical data, the views of local people and the activities of agencies. To develop a strategy that will drive the NDC programme we have used this baseline information to provide an informed analysis and understanding of the fundamental problems of Devonport that need to be overcome if we are to sustain regeneration.

New Deal for Communities provides a unique opportunity to address regeneration issues in a comprehensive and integrated way that is rooted in community ownership and accountability. It needs to be structured around real and long-term change that learns the lessons from previous regeneration programmes both locally and elsewhere in the country in order to build excellence into the design of the programme, efficiency in its delivery and, crucially, sustainability in its impact.

The strategy is one, therefore, based on addressing the fundamental issues that lie at the root of Devonport's specific problems. In doing so we hope to create opportunities within which the potential of our community and long-term regeneration can thrive.

After 10 years we expect to be a community which has seen marked improvements in its quality of life:-
  • A community able to sustain high levels of employment and a spirit of enterprise leading to substantial improvements in income levels
  • A community that does not stand out because of the poor health experienced by its residents
  • A confident community where crime and disorder do not blight peoples lives
  • A community with opportunities where young people want to stay and bring up their families. A community able to help itself to bring about a conti nuous cycle of positive change.

To do this it is essential to recognise the following:-
  • That public service delivery must be much more accountable to and responsive 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 quality, efficiency and integration
  • That successful regeneration brings rights and responsibilities both to service providers and communities
  • That co-ordination, linkage and integration of existing services and initiatives are vital to improving their quality and impact
  • That overcoming long-term problems will require innovation and new ways of working, as well as resources
  • That delivery of the programme must avoid the fragmentation and inefficient use of resources by moving away from a "bid and deliver" culture.

Acquired Assets
To sum up our approach to the design of Devonport's NDC programme there are a number of principles that describe both what we aim to achieve and how we aim to achieve it. This can be described as acquired assets:

We will seek to achieve the following from the programme:-
- Access; to information, opportunities and services
- Choice; through decision making, jobs, training and housing
- Quality; of services, housing, environment and facilities
- Unity; of purpose, area and residents through partnership
- Integration; of service provision and community
- Responsibility; of partnership, community and individual
- Equality; inclusiveness and legitimacy of all activity
- Deliverability; crucial to success

The approach to the programme will be driven by the need to be:-
- Accountable; to the community at which it is targeted and to government
- Strategic; long-term outcomes require a strategic approach
- Simple; easy to understand, clear concise and communicable
- Enterprising; bold, innovative and creative
- Transparent; open and accessible
- Sustainable; what ultimately we will be judged upon

The Strategy
Our strategy is based on five themes, two of which cut across each of the other three. Each theme is apriority area of activity for our NDC programme. In practice, however, the five themes form part of a single programme with strong inter-Iinkage and inter-reliance. Diagram 1 illustrates the linkage between the themes.

The five themes are as follows:
Theme 1: Breaking the Poverty Cycle -by improving education for all and developing employment opportunities.
Theme 2: Building Sustainable Neighbourhoods -by improving the physical environment, increasing local management and providing additionality to housing improvements.
Theme 3: Creating a Healthy and Safe Environment -for all sections of the community.
Theme 4: 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
Theme 5: Promoting Devonport's Young People -The Key To The Future, at the heart of the Plan and its delivery.

The rationale and objectives for each of the key programme themes are described below:

Theme 1: Breaking the Poverty Cycle -improving education for all and developing employment opportunities.

One of the key factors affecting Devonport residents is low income. Clearly this directly affects the quality of life of local people and the ability to self- sustain. Low income levels reflect the degree of difficulty that local people experience in securing and sustaining paid employment. As a consequence many develop a reliance on means tested benefit support. Income levels also reflect the range and type of employment available to residents. Evidence suggests that there are a number of elements which contribute to this position and which reinforce a continuing cycle of relative worklessness. Addressing this issue is, we believe, central to the future regeneration of our area.

There are connected facts:-
  • Educational performance -is below that of the city and that nationally. Educational attainment worsens as pupils progress through secondary education with only 17% of pupils at Parkside achieving 5 or more GCSEs compared to 44% in Plymouth and 46% nationally
  • Post 16 destinations- significantly higher levels of young people in the NDC area fail to take up opportunities for further education and training with some 17% remaining unemployed and 7% whose destinations on leaving school are unknown. This compares with 7% of young people remaining unemployed in Plymouth.
  • The adult population has low levels of qualifications and basic skills-33% with no qualifications and 30% with low levels of literacy compared to 15.8% in Plymouth and 15% nationally.
  • Unemployment levels at 7.2% are twice those of Plymouth, a smaller percentage of the population is working and self employment at 3% is only a third of the national rate.
  • Single parent households -have increased significantly; 35% based on a survey in 2000 compared to 20% in 1991. Over 50% of households have at least one person with a long-term illness. Both factors directly limit the potential to be fully active in the labour market.

These key facts illustrate that there are significant groups within Devonport who, with poor qualifications, skills and inhibiting social constraints, will continue to find it difficult to secure and sustain employment. This too is at a time of major employment growth in the economy and a considerable increase in flexible working arrangements on offer generally. Without further intervention it is likely that those furthest away from the labour market will find it increasingly difficult to bridge the gap.

Breaking this inter-related cycle of poor education, low skills, high unemployment and social exclusion is paramount to the regeneration of Devonport. A failure to do so will continue to undermine progress made in housing conditions, general health and crime levels.

Breaking this cycle of deprivation and exclusion is particularly true in respect of the 18% of our community who are young people (under 16), who will finish their statutory education during the period of the NDC programme.

The degree of interdependence that exists between education, skills and worklessness in Devonport has prompted the partnership to address theseissues within a single coherent strategy. The partnership believes that this will strengthen the focus and effort needed to overcome the area's long-term problems -that by funding initiatives which seek to address all three issues together their impact will be magnified. The following key objectives will need to be addressed through the programme:

  • To improve involvement in, and performance of, educational provision for children, young people and adults.
  • To improve access to, and the provision of, training for young people and adults.
  • To improve the availability and provision of support services, such as childcare and care provision, that enables a flexible approach to both employment and training.
  • To create alternative supportive employment opportunities through the developmement of an innovative local social economy and intermediate labour market, start up grants and easy in/out leases.
  • Improving access to and opportunities in the mainstream labour market through job links, employment brokerage and community transport.
  • Support for self-employment and local entrepreneurial activity through support for new employment sites which attract mobile investment and facilitate local enterprise.

Key Outcomes

KO1. To improve performance at Key Stage 2 amongst Devonport schools to a level above the Plymouth average
KO2. To increase levels of working age residents in economic activity to above the Plymouth average

Theme 2: Building Sustainable Neighbourhoods -improving the physical environment, increasing local management and providing additionality to housing improvements.

Poor housing standards and conditions are highlighted in our baseline research and their links to social exclusion and general ill health are widely appreciated. Similarly, housing and infrastructure design are contributory factors in crime and nuisance. Housing quality and choice is particularly important to the community and it provides the most visible sign of neighbourhood regeneration.

The Urban Village proposals for Devonport have set out a framework plan for a radical reconstruction of the area's housing and employment land alongside and supported by a wide range of local development activity. To bring this plan to reality, and attract the extensive additional funding required, NDC Support will be needed to ensure that the quality of design and refurbishment of housing and environmental improvements is that required to contribute fully to oUr long term regeneration goals.

Without NDC the Urban Village proposals could be implemented simply as a series of fragmented social rented housing capital programmes using standard design, with no mixed tenure aspirations and relatively limited resident input. We believe that NDC can play a significant role as a catalyst in providing a structure for detailed planning and community engagement. The development of the Urban Village framework will be brought within the management structure of NDC to ensure its full integration into the programme. NDC resourcing of the Urban Village plans will be on a value added basis only, ie. NDC funding will be used to achieve items over and above those contained in a standard capital programme and to ensure that residents are intimately involved in all steps of both the design and implementation of the Urban Village proposals.

An integral part of proposed improvements is the development of new community-based neighbourhood management arrangements. Community based neighbourhood management solutions will allow Devonport residents to exercise more control over decisions that very directly affect them. Neighbourhood management will enable real engagement of the community "for purpose" and will help embed the principles of rights and responsibilities that underpin our strategy.

NDC neighbourhood management is one of the key areas in which our programme can make a measurable difference. To ensure that this is sustainable within the community, however, will require new and innovative approaches to neighbourhood management which increase local ownership and control and improve the delivery and impact of Core services. The following objectives will need to be addressed through this theme area:-

  • To add value to the implementation of the Urban Village proposals and integrate them into the NDC programme.
  • To create new forms of local neighbourhood management arrangements and accountability which improve the design and delivery of services, reduce voids, improve levels of resident turnover and in doing so strengthen our community.
  • To build capacity within the new neighbourhood management arrangements.
  • To improve the design and delivery of core service functions to more closely meet local needs and increase the responsiveness of existing service providers.
  • The provision of employment opportunities through neighbourhood management solutions for local service delivery.
  • The securing of private sector involvement alongside public housing stock provision as part of a wider programme of development and investment within the framework of an agreed masterplan.

Key Outcomes

KO3. To reduce the levels of turnovers and voids in the housing stock to a level below the Plymouth average.
KO4. To put in place effective mechanisms for community based Neighbourhood Management.
Please note a summary of the Urban Village Framework Plan can be found at Appendix F.

Theme 3: Creating A Healthy And Safe Environment -for all sectors of the community.

People living in Devonport have a poor health record across all the key indicators, reflecting both their living environment and low income lifestyles. The area also has a poor record of crime related to criminal damage, drugs, anti-social behaviour and as a result a high fear of crime. Addressing issues of racial harassment and intimidation is also seen as a priority.

In part, both improved levels of employment and improved housing will play a contributory role in creating a healthier and safer environment. Change on the scale needed will, however, take time to deliver. This being the case it is important that a series of both short term measures to address immediate needs and long-term measures to create sustainable change be developed and managed to ensure that benefits within the community are maximised. The aim will be to overcome, or at least lessen, immediate problems before establishing a framework for longer-term change that supports healthy living, reduces crime and supports community safety and confidence for all of our residents. The followinq core activities will need to be addressed throuqh the proqramme:-

  • Short-term remedial measures to respond to key health access and promotion issues
  • To improve long-term access to and availability of core Health Services provision
  • To improve promotion of healthy living support linked to neighbourhood management, housing developments, employment and leisure
  • Short-term remedial measures to tackle crime hotspots through increased targeting and preventative measures
  • A long-term plan for crime prevention linked to housing improvements, employment opportunities and leisure provision
  • Design in' both crime prevention benefits and health promotion across the programme
  • Securing sustainable revenue streams for services to support healthy living and enhance crime prevention.
  • To develop a mechanism for long-term community engagement and accountability for health provision and policing
  • Ensure that initiatives identify, recognise and include measures to address the needs of all minority groups within the community

Key Outcomes

KO5. To reduce the incidence of crime to a level below the Plymouth average.
KO6. To reduce death rates amongst those under 75 years of age I. From heart disease/strokes by more than 40% II. From all cancers by more than 20%
KO7. To double levels of satisfaction of residents with sporting, recreational and cultural opportunities available

Theme 4: Community Involvement - A New Deal

This strategy is rooted in an approach to regeneration that is built around Devonport residents. It is one that, during the course of the programme, will seek to secure the engagement of all sections of the community in a variety of different ways. Not for its own sake, but because it improves the quality of life for local people, increases the sense of local ownership, encourages accountability, control and influence and gives greater solidarity and sustainability to our community.

The partnership understands the difficulties of delivering a regeneration initiative that is truly community-based. There are many examples of local initiatives that have failed to penetrate our communities in more than a token way. The partnership is committed to an engagement process that is inclusive of the whole of the Devonport community and which develops its capacity over the period of the programme and beyond. In particular, it wishes to fully implement Race Equality Guidance and further develop the forum for minority groups as a high priority. This forum will be specifically tasked with monitoring inclusiveness and the impact of NDC activities on minority groups and has elected representatives on the Shadow Board.

The longer-term objectives of the strategy depend on securing substantive commitment from the community to help itself. Such commitment and the capacity to deliver must be built over a period of time. The community has already demonstrated its commitment to the programme through its participation in the developmental process. Our community is ambitious and keen to challenge the norms that exist in Devonport through real and substantial change at the local level. We believe that sustainable change will only occur if, long-term, we can raise individual aspirations and widen horizons. Our strategic approach is therefore to:-

  • To build community capacity for purpose. To ensure that development of community capacity is carried for purpose rather than on a generic basis.For example, supporting involvement in forums, focus groups, neighbourhood management or evaluation and monitoring. It is particularly important to ensure that those sections of the community currently excluded due to lack of organisation, resources or confidence are assisted to participate.
  • To build practical mechanisms for local accountability -to develop a structure through the programme which ensures that design, planning and delivery of services has a much greater involvement of, and accountability to, local residents
  • To build vibrant, responsible communities -to ensure that groups in the community are able to act for themselves and find local workable solutions to local problems

Key Outcomes

KO8. To increase to 90% the proportion of residents who feel they have the opportunity to infuence decisions being made in their area
KO9 . To fully engage disadvantaged and minority groups in the NDS and other regeneration processes

Theme 5. Promoting Devonport's Young People - The Key to the Future

Devonport has a young population. According to 1991 census figures over half of the resident population is under the age of 30. Young people in Devonport are associated, by local residents, with high levels of unemployment,, crime, drugs and general anti-social behaviour. The current and next geeration of oung aduts are critical to the future of Devonport. Whilst Theme 1 will seek to address the cores issues of education, skill levels and employment there is a broader social need to address if Devonport is to thrive as a stable community into the future.

This theme deals with how young people view themselves in relation to the community and the wider world. It must address the aspirations and opportunities that young people perceive and the confidence they have to invest in and contribute fully to their community.

The future of Devonport will rely on the next generation of young people having pride in their area and being outward looking with broad horizons. To achieve this will require an approach that brings together existing services for young people, begins to remove fragmentation and adds value to their delivery. It will also require a strategy for engaging young people in new and innovative ways, ways that reward positive development and commitment and provide young people with broader long terms goals and objectives.

This part of the programme will provide social and community benefits that will impact directly on the various other individual themes detailed in other parts of our strategy. It will provide an opportunity to celebrate the community's strength and to engage young people in regeneration in non-standard ways.

The following key objectives will need to be addressed through the programme
  • To bring greater coherence and add value to services already provided for young people
  • To raise the aspirations of our young people
  • To broaden the experience and life potential of our young people
  • To provide incentives and goals for the individual development of young people within the community
Key Outcomes

K10 To put in place effective mechanisms to integrate young people within the wider community and engage them in the regeneration of Devonport.

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