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3. OVERVIEW OF STRATEGIC CONTEXT
 
3.1 Strategic Context
 
Figure 3.1 overleaf provides an overview of the strategic framework within which the Colin Neighbourhood strategy needs to be placed. The diagram highlights both the levels and range of policies and interventions that have direct applicability to the Colin Neighbourhood.
 
The socio-economic profile demonstrates the high levels of deprivation within the Colin area and this section highlights the relevance that policies place on tackling social need, promoting social inclusion and regenerating marginalised and deprived communities.
 

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European Union - The European ‘Framework for Action’ seeks to address urban decline through strengthening economic prosperity and employment, promoting social integration and the rehabilitation of run-down areas, improving the environment and contributing to good governance at the local level. A key delivery programme is the Urban Initiative which promotes activities across three main axes of spending: physical and environmental regeneration; social inclusion and entrepreneurship and employment.
 
UK Policies - UK renewal policies seek to promote a ‘holistic’ approach to regeneration and are mostly focused on (i) property related issues within an economic and social context (ii) fiscal reforms and (iii) innovative delivery mechanisms such as Urban Regeneration Companies and new Local Strategy Partnerships. The Neighbourhood Renewal Strategy – the linchpin of UK regeneration policy – seeks to ‘arrest’, ‘reverse’ and ‘prevent’ decline through reviving local economies and communities, ensuring decent services and promoting leadership and joined up working.
 
Northern Ireland Policies – The Programme for Government (PFG) has prioritised a series of themes including ‘Growing as a Community’, ‘Working for a Healthier People’ and ‘Investing Education and Skills’. PFG is also underpinned by policy commitments to ensure equality of opportunity in service delivery and targeting resources and efforts at the most deprived areas (New Targeting Social Need). The Executive has recently signed up to Shaping Our Future which will guide the future development of Northern Ireland to 2025 and help meet the needs of a fast growing region with a population approaching two million. The vision is to create an outwardlooking, dynamic and liveable region and to sustain a high quality of life forall. A long-term perspective is taken keeping the needs of future generations in mind. Thus, the recurring theme of sustainability runs through the Regional Development Strategy (RDS), with a strong emphasis on social cohesion and economic progress.
 
Department for Social Development (DSD) - is the lead department in relation to neighbourhood renewal and the Belfast Regeneration Office of DSD is specifically tasked with ensuring that the City’s most deprived communities are regenerated through targeting the most acute areas of deprivation, levering mainstream funding, empowering local communities and developing innovative partnerships. BRO and DSD recognise that commitments to urban renewal cannot be short-term or one-off and their focus is placed on ‘making regeneration sustainable renewal over several to 10 years’.
Department for Health, Social Services and Public Safety (DHSSPS) -‘Investing for Health’ places improving health and reducing inequalities in health between geographic areas, socio-economic groups and minority groups as centre place to policy commitments. The Down Lisburn Trust, which has responsibility for delivering health services to the Colin area, has made a number of commitments to actions designed to reduce health inequalities within the Dumurry and Colin area.
 
Department of Education – (DE) has central responsibility for policy and planning for schools, youth and community relations activities among children and young people. Executive responsibility for the delivery of these services rests largely in the hands of Education and Library Boards, the Council for Catholic Maintained Schools, the Youth Council, individual youth organisations and other grant aided bodies mainly in the voluntary sector. The Department’s New TSN Action Plan states “education is one of the most important influences on the social and economic circumstances of those areas and persons in greatest need and has a crucial role to play in reducing social need”. It also argues that “social need is closely correlated with underachievement and it is the strategy of the Department to tackle both and to take full account of that correlation in the development of initiatives”.
 
Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment (DETI) - The Programme for Government provides the framework within which the local administration addresses the social and economic development needs of the region in achieving ‘a balanced, competitive, innovative, knowledge-based and fast growing economy where there are plentiful opportunities for all’.
 
PFG seeks to achieve this aim through encouraging the growth of the economy by promoting knowledge-based business competitiveness and an enterprise culture in Northern Ireland and developing and maintaining the policy and regulatory environment to achieve economic growth with equal opportunities for all. DETI has prime responsibility for achieving these objectives and the Department has committed itself to ensuring the promotion of equality and human rights, and addressing social and economic disadvantage and deprivation in relation to its practices through New TSN commitments. Key DETI New TSN aims are the reduction of unemployment, raising skills levels and reduction of inequality in terms of access to employment opportunities.
 
Specifically, DETI’s New TSN objectives and targets are largely aimed at reducing unemployment and increasing employment opportunities for the unemployed through geographic targeting of identified areas of deprivation.

Department of Employment and Learning (DEL) - has responsibility for three related functions (i) further and higher education (delivered by the Institutes of Further Education and the universities) (ii) Preparation for Work (a range of programmes and measures delivered through the JobCentre network and external training and employment agencies) and (iii) Employment Rights. An Inter-Departmental Taskforce on Employability and Long-Term Unemployment was established under the leadership of the Minister for Employment and Learning. The Task Force report of 2002 included recommendations on how current actions on employability and long-term unemployment might be improved and the report suggested new initiatives to be taken by Government, including initiatives targeted at areas of high levels of deprivation. Other strategies and initiatives which are being promoted by DEL and which could contribute significantly to addressing training and
 
Employment issues in the local economy are:
 
  • Lifelong Learning Strategy;
  • Focus for Work programme;
  • Business in the Community Employers Recruitment toolkit;
  • the Adult Literacy Strategy;
  • skills training for the needs of the current and future economy; and
  • promotion of wider access for disadvantaged and socially excluded members of society.
Local Government - all the electoral wards of the Colin Area fall within the Lisburn City Council area, while most of the area also falls within the Belfast West Parliamentary Constituency. Lisburn City Council has identified a series of themes, strategic issues and challenges which it faces over the next fiveyear period, including:
 
  • Civic Leadership and Partnership;
  • Delivering Quality;
  • Promoting Equality and Social Inclusion;
  • Promoting a Healthy, Safe and Sustainable Environment;
  • Creating Economic Opportunity;
  • Improving Health and Well-Being through Sport, Leisure, Recreation and Culture; and
  • Regenerating the Town Centre and Enhancing the Lagan Corridor.
At the local level, there are a number of key organisations that provide front line services to citizens. Each organisation aligns to the wider European, UK and NI policies detailed above. Table 3.1 summarises the roles and responsibilities of key organisations and it also provides detail on the policy commitments that each department/NDPB has made towards addressing the needs of disadvantaged communities and socially excluded groups.
 
In highlighting policy commitments, we are ensuring that the Colin Neighbourhood Strategy ‘challenges’ and ensures that such commitments are put into practice.
 

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A number of umbrella organisations exist that seek to enable change and strategically direct activities within local areas.

 Lisburn Strategy Partnership (LSP)
 West Belfast Partnership Board 
 Roles & Responsibilities
 
 LSP seeks to positively address social, economic and
 environmental needs and in so doing contributing to peace
 and reconciliation. The operating context of the LSP are as  follows:
 
  • consulting with and listening to people;
  • valuing diversity;
  • responding to needs;
  • focusing on action;
  • working in partnership;
  • promoting sustainability; and
  • evaluating impact.
 Roles & Responsibilities
 
 Maximise economic growth, employment creation and training  opportunities  for  all residents of West Belfast
  • increase educational attainment levels;
  • attract resources and investment equal to scale of need;
  • promote the genuine inclusion and equality of the most marginalised;
  • advance contribution of the Irish language and culture in Belfast’s overall cultural diversity;
  • build a constructive relationship among the social partners;
  • collaborate with health and social care providers to support local communities identify needs and determine the future of health and social care provision;
  • facilitate the enhancement of West Belfast’s physical and built environment; and
  • develop relations with potential partners within Belfast and beyond.
 Key Themes
 Developing the Social Economy -
developing capacity at a local level in terms of participation, skills  development,
regeneration and job creation as a means of providing a bridge between 
disadvantaged communities and the mainstream  economy.
 
 Developing Human Resources -
ensure that skills provision required to access future employment development
opportunities is achieved in Lisburn Borough. This will entail identifying training
needs to existing labour market needs and providing the appropriate personal, professional, vocational and life skills training required, particularly for those
most disadvantaged, to enable access to employment.
 Key Themes
  • Environment;
  • Economic Development;
  • Education and Training;
  • Children and Young People;
  • Health and Well being; and
  • Arts/Culture.

 

The West Belfast and Greater Shankill Task Forces were launched in February 2002 and highlighted a range of issues which need to be addressed in order to regenerate economic and social activity in the Greater West Belfast area.
 
The report detailed a series of recommendations that “would achieve an early and real change in the job prospects of the unemployed, offer a better education and career outlook to the new generation and achieve the economic regeneration of the area”. In relation to the Colin area, the report specifically recommended that:
 
  • the Colin Urban Area should be assured core funding for it’s programme of work;
  • ds and enhance prospects of breaking the inter-generational unemployment cycle.
  • In responding to the Task Force in June 2002, the Government represented through the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment and the Department;
  • the Colin Urban Initiative requires a strategic response from Government and both Belfast and Lisburn councils;
  • at least one of the proposed new Employment Services Centres and Outreach centres should be located within the area; and
  • educational disadvantage in the area should be tackled as a particular priority in order to raise educational attainment, respond to special neent for Social Development stated:
 
“the implementation of the West Belfast Task Forces’ recommendation will be further informed by the Belfast Regeneration Office’s strategy for stimulating the social and economic regeneration the of the most disadvantaged areas of Belfast through a neighbourhood renewal programme and the publication of the employability task force”.
 
Given that the BRO draft strategy is in place, the Neighbourhood Renewal strategy is being finalised and the Employability Task force has reported, there are clear expectations that the impacts of these initiatives should be felt across the community.

In particular within the Task Force document, the Springbank Industrial Estate is identified as a clear focus for industrial development within the West Belfast Development Arc.
 
The above review of strategy documents and other relevant literature points to a number of issues in relation to what will make for an effective strategy. The literature identified a series of reasons for past regeneration efforts either failing of not being as effective, including:
 
  • the economic ghettoisation of these neighbourhoods;
  • the erosion of social capital, the contact, trust and solidarity that enables residents to help rather than fear each other;
  • the failure of departments to place regeneration centre stage, previous research notes that success has been limited on this front;
  • the failure of core services in deprived areas where public services have been set targets only for improving national averages and not for the outcomes in deprived areas;
  • neighbourhood/local, regional or national level to ensure that the services work together; and
  • over reliance on short term, project focused activity.
 
A series of key learning points were highlighted as part of this review including:
 
  • the need for targeting and the identification of key themes to be addressed;
  • a clearer focus on what promoting social inclusion, equality and justice actually mean to communities;
  • the active involvement of local communities in decision making about their areas;
  • the promotion of partnership workings and the use of innovative delivery mechanisms;
  • the need to ensure that mainstream providers bring their resources to an area and that they focus on improving service delivery, in other words,
  • regeneration needs to be placed at the heart of departments, agencies and programmes;
  • the need to identify area specific outcomes that go beyond ‘national averages’;
  • recognition that the process of regeneration cannot be short term or cyclical in relation to expenditure; and
  • the need to identify, record and share good practice.

 

 

Contact Us

Colin Neighbourhood Partnership
Cloona House
31 Colin Road
Poleglass
Belfast, BT17 0LG
Tel: 028 9062 3813
Fax: 028 9030 9722
info@newcolin.com

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