What works?: Reviewing the evidence base for neighbourhood renewal
The Learning Curve, Neighbourhood Renewal Unit, 2002
This review for New Deal for Communities (NDC) programmes provides an analysis, based on emerging evidence, as to which interventions are likely to prove more effective in helping to achieve improvements at neighbourhood level in housing, education, worklessness, crime and health. The report warns that the evidence is as yet patchy because of a lack of data over time, for example, how individuals benefit from a renewal initiative. The review identifies five interventions that NDC programmes, working in partnership with other agencies, can use to address educational underachievement:
- 1. Study support initiatives e.g. breakfast and homework clubs, family learning centres and mentoring schemes;
- 2. Anti-truancy strategies;
- 3. Pre-school, nursery and early learning provision;
- 4. Provision for adult education and lifelong learning; and
- 5. ICT provision and skill training.
Also mentioned are curriculum enrichment schemes involving the arts, sports, cultural visits and outward bound courses in helping to foster life skills and in helping to engage young people at risk of disaffection. In terms of addressing low levels of literacy and numeracy, the review suggests that support needs to be provided tactfully to avoid any stigma that might be attached, while approaches that try a "gateway" course, such as ICT, are more likely to be successful in encouraging people to come forward. The importance of community-based provision is stressed.
There is some evidence that youth disorder and juvenile offending can be tackled effectively through community-based after-school recreation programmes, education projects and intensive supervision and after-care of juvenile offenders. Specific mention was made of parenting programmes for parents of those involved and mentoring schemes to provide role models and schemes to improve literacy and numeracy of those with very low skills.
However, the review does not provide any evidence on the links between improving literacy and addressing health inequalities such as teenage pregnancy, healthy eating or drug misuse or suggest specific approaches to improve the literacy and numeracy skills levels of those out of work.
To download the national strategy for neighbourhood renewal, A New Commitment to Neighbourhood Renewal: A National Strategy Action Plan, visit www.neighbourhood.gov.uk/document
For Neighbourhood Renewal visit http://www.idea.gov.uk/