Government rhetoric increasingly emphasises the importance of community participation in area regeneration programmes; however, it is far less clear how much those involved are able to effectively influence practice and future policy making. Community knowledge is an important resource; participants need to be actively involved in monitoring and evaluation at every stage of the regeneration process.
Through analysis of four case study areas with a history of participation and interviews with community representatives and key stakeholders, Reflecting realities explores participants' perspectives on:
capacity building and the technical and professional support available;
systems for monitoring and evaluating regeneration programmes.
It also considers:
the impact of the diverse nature of communities on involvement;
the difficulty in truly representing 'community' opinion;
the pressure of competing for scarce resources;
the wider role of the community and voluntary sector.
The report concludes with recommendations for national and regional government, local authorities and community organisations, as well as providing notes on the good practice highlighted throughout the report.
Reflecting realities can be read independently or alongside Auditing community participation - the practical workbook for the evaluation of community involvement - which was developed from the same research (The Policy Press/Joseph Rowntree Foundation, 2000). The reports are essential reading for all those involved in community-led regeneration groups, policy makers, local authorities and regional and national government, as well as anyone with an interest in community-led regeneration practice.
Introduction; Case study locations; Summary of findings; Conclusions and recommendations.