Ms. Debbie Whitcombe, Neighbourhood Development Officer, will provide the Panel with an update on the fourth year of the Neighbourhood Renewal Strategy.
The Panel welcomed Ms. Debbie Whitcombe, Neighbourhood Development Officer, who had been invited to the meeting to provide Members with an update on the Neighbourhood Renewal Strategy. Members had been provided with a brief background of the strategy which had recognised three areas, Cherrywood, North Town and Aldershot Park as needing siginificant improvements to address deprivation and reduce inequalities. It was heard that a priority had been set for the Borough, which aimed to ensure that none of the Rushmoor wards were placed in the bottom 20% of the national Indices of Multiple Deprivation (IMD).
It was noted that Cherrywood had been a priority area and that the closure of the Mayfield Job Club had caused concern, the partnership had responded to this and raised £4,000 to establish an Internet and Skills Café. Work carried out within the Café had helped some residents find employment. The PEBL (Prospect Estate Big Local) Partnership helped fund the Skills Café and had also arranged a family fun day which was attended by over 200 people.
The Panel noted that, since 2014, 73 people had completed the Skilled Up programme, of which 24 had found employment, 34 had moved onto further education, 28 had passed the Construction Skills Certification Scheme tests and 30 had gained a Level One Health and Safety in a Construction Environment Certificate. Members were advised that this programme helped break cycles of inactivity and motivate those participating. Skilled Up projects had also been held in Aldershot.
A reduction in anti-social behaviour had been a key target for Cherrywood and it was noted that incidents had reduced by 32%. This had been achieved through an increased police presence in the area. Students from Grange Infant School had taken part in four Junior Warden sessions, where the children had had the opportunity to report issues and find out if those issues had been resolved.
Ms. Whitcombe informed the Panel that some work had been linked to the Health and Wellbeing Partnership work programme. Local sessions had been arranged, including drug and alcohol awareness sessions. Also, ‘swim for £1’ and street games basketball had encouraged a large number of children to partake in sporting activities. Other community facilities included the Friday Night Youth Club and Creating Futures, increased use of the Prospect Centre, a free bus pass scheme, Cove Brook cycle way and a completed consultation for Moor Road.
The Panel heard that while Cherrywood had been a priority area, similar projects had been carried out in Aldershot Park. Staff had been visiting the area one day per week and had arranged regular meetings in the community. An Active Families programme had also been set up that had provided a range of free sporting activities for local residents.
In September, 2015, the Index of Multiple Deprivation data was released and Members noted that it had been difficult to compare with 2010 as some indicators had changed. The data indicated that Rushmoor had only two Lower Super Output Areas (LSOA) in the bottom 20% of areas of deprivation in England, whereas previously, three LSOAs had been in the bottom 20%.
It was advised that while some issues had been specific to a small number of wards within the Borough, Borough-wide issues had also been identified, for example, income deprivation affecting children and older people.
To conclude, Ms. Whitcombe informed the Panel that a detailed review of the IMD data and IMD workshops had been planned. There had also been plans to respond to issues in priority neighbourhoods and continue delivery of the live actions in the rolling plan.
The Panel NOTED the update.