Wednesday, 19 September 2012

How to run a regeneration programme – A Dummies’ Guide

(Any resemblance to any regeneration programme, living or dead, is entirely coincidental)

1. Try to stick with the same name. It might make it easier to get away unscathed, but people tend to get confused if your name changes too often.

2. It can be nice to win the, er, Lottery without buying a ticket. But remember, it can also feel a little bit like someone else is making the big decisions.

3. However much money you’ve got on offer, please remember, it’s really, really not all about the money. (Jessie J will back me up on this.)

4. It has been noted, over the course of history, that money has power. And that that has not always been in a good way.

5. There is an awful lot that communities, and neighbours within them, can do without money. Popping in on each other, making new friends, talking, singing, gardening, baking, eating together. Caring for each other. For example. And those are rather important. (Have I mentioned it’s not all about the money?)

6. Neighbourhoods rarely need much help remembering what’s wrong with them, what they lack, what they need. Helping them discover what they’ve already got – now that’s a real achievement. (Oh, and that’s not about money.)

7. Developing relationships, trust, confidence in a community takes time – hard graft, by real people, on the ground, locally. Telling a community that they’ve got lots of money but not right now, is not quite the same thing.

8. Having to spend lots of time reinventing wheels that have already been tried and tested elsewhere, is not quite the same as being empowered.

9. Believe it or not, someone may well have tried doing something similar to you before you have tried doing it. Try not to do the same things wrong that they did wrong. But if you’re going to do it differently, bear in mind that might not work well either.

10. Communities have all the skills and capacities to be ingenious and creative. Sometimes simply getting out of their way can be the best thing you can do.

11. Communities who have historically and systematically been deprived of wealth and investment – as well as value in so many other ways – will, at some point, find a voice to claim the justice – economic and otherwise – that is rightfully theirs. Then it will be about the money. But only partly.