Two public meetings have been held, the first in February and the other in March, to progress the development of the Action Plans for the Flower-Roads/Hampton-Park/Mansbridge and Portswood/St Denys Priority Neighbourhoods.

The purpose of the Action Plans is to narrow the gap between the Priority Neighbourhoods and the rest of the city. In general, there is no new money, but  the aim is to get service providers to use their resources more effectively: “Joined up solutions to joined up problems”. The first meeting prioritised the “themes”. The top was education with employment and poverty coming second. The meeting worked in groups to identify the main causes of deprivation within each theme. They had documentation produced consultants to help them. The second meeting had to identify the types of action that might be taken. Again the consultants had produced a helpful list to think about. The meeting also had the task of identifying ‘early wins’ i.e. the most effective way of spending £10,000 from the Neighbourhood Renewal Fund before March 2006. My group discussed what to do about unemployment. (Over one third of the unemployed in the Flower Roads have been unemployed for over 15 months.) Something we thought might help would be one-to-one mentoring – someone to help him/her get a job and help him/her to keep it.

All this is not entirely irrelevant to us in the Conservation Area; it may help us not get our windows broken!

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