February 13, 2013
Alliance for Action
As the regeneration industry settles down and adjusts to a new world of triple-dip recessions and austerity, and the multi-million pound budgets of the URCs become a thing of the past, we can expect to see much more from the ‘make do and mend’ school of regeneration. Smaller in scale, locally led and hopefully producing more creative outcomes. Following up on some of the lessons drawn from its recent work in Govan and Gallatown, SURF is proposing to launch an Alliance for Action in both communities.
From ‘Reality, Resources, Resilience’ into an Alliance for Action
In its role as Scotland’s independent regeneration network, SURF delivered a progressive programme of interactive engagements, events and debates over 2011-12. This targeted activity series was supported by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF) and the Scottish Government.
This participative study focused on two contrasting case study areas: the communities of Govan in Glasgow and Gallatown in Kirkcaldy. The objectives of the investigation were to:
• examine the impact of the recession on disadvantaged people and communities;
• highlight examples of ameliorative responses;
• disseminate learning with the purpose of informing policy and practice in future community regeneration and anti-poverty efforts;
• strengthen the exchange of knowledge and experience by facilitating increased dialogue across academic, policy and practice fields;
• support cross-sector consideration of the options for more sustainable community regeneration policy and practice in the changed economic context.
The main themes and examples emerging from this programme were presented in a ‘Reality, Resources, Resilience’ report published by the JRF as a SURF-authored Programme Paper on 23 January 2013. This report is available on the JRF website at the following link:
Forming an Alliance for Action
Over the course of the above RRR programme, SURF experienced a striking degree of enthusiasm for practical action from a wide range of local and national partners. This has encouraged the organisation to develop an ‘Alliance for Action’, focused on the same two case study communities of Govan and Gallatown.
The proposed alliance will be built on the individuals, networks and connections SURF identified and fostered in the course of the initial RRR study. Its specific dual purpose would be:
• to further strengthen resilience and practical outcomes in the two communities;
• to enhance wider policy and resource considerations for supporting community regeneration in the continuing recessionary context.
With support from the Scottish Government, Resilient Scotland Ltd and other partner organisations, SURF will be taking responsibility for coordinated programme of activities and events over 2013-15 including:
• Establishing, supporting and developing an interactive network linking partner organisations that have policies and resources dedicated to supporting community led regeneration;
• Showcasing successful approaches and the availability of support for community led regeneration;
• Convening a series of participative open forum events to raise awareness and debate learning from the work of the Alliance with colleagues across all sectors and geographies;
• Organising accessible and productively programmed study visits to successful projects and participating organisations;
• Facilitating a series of focused discussions of the policy implications, involving relevant key policy-makers, practitioners and academics;
• Linking policy development debate with the practical experience of local initiatives and academic research capacities via a ‘SURF APPP’ (academic, policy & practitioner panel);
• Broadening the accumulated learning and debate onto an international scale via cross border policy/practice exchanges.
The formal national launch of the SURF Alliance for Action will take place at the 2013 SURF Annual Conference in the late summer. Please sign up for SURF’s email newsletter at the link below to receive more information about the programme, or keep up-to-date by visiting the website.
SURF newsletter: http://tinyurl.com/surfnewsletter
SURF website: www.scotregen.co.uk
Meantime, anyone interested in learning more about the SURF Alliance for Action at this stage is welcome to contact SURF Chief Executive Andy Milne on firstname.lastname@example.org.