Community-led regeneration approach: review

Findings from an independent review into the partnership approach delivered by the People and Communities Fund (PCF).

3. Projects


Chapter 3 presents a summary of the projects that have been selected for the research. A short commentary from the researchers has also been added in a text box relating to each project and the primary research findings.

Overview of the Type of Community Anchors

The community organisations in charge of delivering the PCF funded initiatives are subsequently referred to as 'Community Anchors' and a general overview has been provided in Chapter 2 with regard to the sample frame.

The study research provided further insight into the type of Community Anchors participating in the research:

  • All of the surveyed organisations employed between 5 and 28 members of staff, with an average of 14.
  • All but one of the Community Anchors works with volunteers.
  • All of the Community Anchors were well established, with all of them receiving funding from multiple sources and all of them undertaking community needs assessments prior to receiving PCF funding. In many cases the 2015/16 needs assessments were based on previous PCF funded work.
  • Prior experience of community engagement was generally assessed to be high, with two groups judged to have a medium level of experience.
  • Most of the groups demonstrated a high level of person-focused, bespoke delivery, with two groups judged to have medium, and one a relatively low level of bespoke delivery.
  • Almost all groups had a high level of focused and dedicated community engagement, with two pursuing a medium level of engagement, usually backed up by a relevant strategy and/or vision in place.

Projects Overview

Theme: 'Training and Up-skilling' and 'Employability'

Blairtummock HA - EHRA Modern Housing Apprenticeships

Easterhouse Housing and Regeneration Alliance ( EHRA) represent the eight community HAs and co-operatives that operate in the Greater Easterhouse area of Glasgow (Easthall Park Housing Co-operative; Blairtummock HA; Calvay HA; Gardeen HA; Lochfield Park HA; Provanhall HA; Ruchazie HA and Wellhouse HA).

This project was delivered by Blairtummock HA in conjunction with TIGERS (a local training provider), and provided work-based placement training within these HAs for unemployed young people from economically disadvantegd areas in the East End of Glasgow.

They were given access to training and mentoring to help them gain valuable skills and work experience, ultimately leading to sustainable employment within the social housing sector.

The project has been successful in achieving its objectives - with 14 out of the 16 young people taken on moving on to positive destinations (either becoming employed in the social housing or third sector, or moving into further or higher education).

Researchers' Observations:

This is a good example of how community partners ( HA staff) and beneficiaries (apprentices) benefit from the positive experience of the project albeit in a more traditional separation of responsibilities and distinct roles ( HA designing and leading the project delivery; young people benefiting through apprenticeship learning).

There were several unexpected benefits/outcomes - several community partners commented on the increased 'energy' within, and revitalising of, the workplace when young people were recruited. This benefit was also felt by other community members ( i.e. customers of the HAs), who commented positively on the new, cross-section of young members of staff.

The apprentices were able to demonstrate a clear progression from no prior community involvement to involvement across various roles with positive effects on their confidence and engagement activities. This was driven by their apprenticeship/employment in customer facing roles (rather than contributing to co-delivery).

COMAS - 20 More

The 20 More project run by COMAS works with people of all ages living in the Dumbiedykes area of Edinburgh who are workless or living in low income working households to deliver a service that improves weekly household income by at least £20.

The project provides whatever is required by each beneficiary, from benefits advocacy, debt advice, budgeting, utilities reviews and employment support. Beneficiaries have been clearly very affected by the project, and it has made a difference to a number of local people. The project provides more than just a service to help people to become better off - the project has also improved community cohesion and pride significantly, with various other community activity groups forming as a result.

Researchers' Observations:

This project is a good example of co-design: COMAS places great emphasis on involving local people to work together to find the solutions which work for them, as opposed to simply telling local people how they will benefit. The project made a real difference to the beneficiaries. For example, the project provided more than just a service, by also acting as a community hub for local people.

The creation of a community trust within the Dumbiedykes area has done a lot to create a lasting sense of community which previously did not exist. Those who have engaged with the 20more project have found it very beneficial ( e.g. staff members have a huge sense of pride in what they do and can see what a positive difference it makes to community members, and beneficiaries have gained, above all, structure in their lives and a support network they know they can trust).

Dundee International Women's Centre ( DIWC) - Pathways to Learning

DIWC has delivered projects and services for women from diverse communities for over four decades.

A new centre, built in 2006, enabled the organisation to provide increased service provision/community engagement and develop new services according to community needs. The centre caters for a wide range of needs, including cultural diversity training, employability training, work placements, childcare, catering, advice and mentoring, educational classes, life skills, etc.

DIWC works to provide a holistic service catering for women's social, educational, employment and personal development needs whilst taking into consideration their previous experiences and putting steps in place to overcome family, community and cultural barriers to participation through a programme of services and partnership work.

Researchers' Observations:

Substantial user-focused service delivery. Holistic approach, seeing the person in her totality of needs and building on the potential of each person. Offering a person-focused approach and encouraging uptake of a wide range of activities is at the core of this initiative to develop everyone's potential step-by-step. People feel safe and comfortable and have a keen desire to 'give back', help others, and volunteer.

Core person-focused values and needs assessment approaches are well established at DIWC. There creates a very positive atmosphere that encourages service users to remain involved and feel part of a community.

Fyne Homes/Inspiralba - Inspiring Locally Grown Employability in Argyll

Inspiralba is a social enterprise that assists community based organisations to turn their ideas and aspirations into robust, sustainable business activities. They have been managing this project on behalf of Fyne Homes, to deliver environmental and employment objectives.

The project promotes social enterprise as an employment option for unemployed people, and young people and adults who live in the local rural area, and who face barriers to employment for a variety of reasons.

Beneficiaries are either offered supportive and inspiring work experience placements with existing social enterprises, or are recruited to the Vital Sparks programme - this supports local people in turning their social enterprise ideas into solutions for the challenges their community faces. The work placements help people to gain a range of skills and confidence - as well as raising their profile in the wider community - whilst the newly created social enterprises provide encouragement to other individuals with ideas, and may create further employment opportunities in this rural area.

These social enterprises were ideal to support people who were often unemployed as a result of physical and mental health barriers or who had addiction issues, as they could offer the flexibility and additional support perhaps not found in more traditional employment models. In addition to the benefits gained by the unemployed young people and adults, the social enterprises themselves benefited greatly from employing extra staff.

Researchers' Observations:

The strong capacity of the social enterprise sector to provide the necessary holding and nurturing environment for vulnerable beneficiaries has been highlighted by this project. Also, the importance of work placement payments to beneficiaries (in lieu of losing benefits) has been emphasised as strengthening the feeling of self-worth and esteem (quote from a beneficiary: 'if they pay me, it must be true that I do well, it's not just words').

Some of the beneficiaries had experienced significant mental and physical health improvements since engaging with the project and working in social enterprises. There was also a sense that the social enterprises benefited from the provision of volunteers, as they tended to be in need of 'extra helping hands'.

Mayfield and Easthouses Youth 2000 Project - Growing Gardeners

Growing Gardeners is a developing local gardening social enterprise managed and operated by Mayfield and Easthouses Youth 2000 Project (Y2K) for the benefit of people living in and around Midlothian. The project trained young people aged between 13 and 24 years, developing their employability skills and other support work to help them find employment. The services provided by the project extended to the maintenance of local green space, delivery of community workshops, talks and information sessions, and partnership working with local schools.

The project helped to address local youth unemployment, and increased financial independence and disposable income levels. Each trainee recieved bespoke support (skills and confidence building etc.) from the project's dedicated Youth Worker.

The project also included strong relationships with local schools by providing 10-week work experience placements for young unemployed people (two days per week, unpaid). A number of young people who were excluded from school also benefited from unpaid 10-week work experience placements in consultation/partnership with the relevant school(s).

Y2K intended to progress towards the full self-sustainability of the Growing Gardeners project via a social enterprise approach. The aim was to provide the delivery of a highly affordable gardening service for the local community by 2018, including the provision of ongoing training placements to be offered on a long-term basis for the benefit of the local community.

However, due to a number of issues including the limited PCF funding period, the aspiration of establishing a social enterprise for/with this service was not achieved. Extra support for social enterprise development might have been appropriate. In addition, the annualrity of PCF funding resulted in the loss of four staff employed by the project who moved on to other posts. Now, with the successful extension in place until March 2018, the project is resuming with replacement staff being recruited.

Researchers' Observations:

This seem to have been an effective and successful project in terms of service delivery (filling a gap that had been created by cuts in Local Authority services and combining this with community-led employability activities). All four trainee gardeners have found employment following their participation in the project. The project was also successful in offering work placements to many school pupils on a continuous and rolling basis - the placements were used as rewards for good behaviour in school.

Theme: 'Advice/Support Service'


Community Food Initiatives North East ( CFINE) is a charity and social enterprise that offers a range of food-related services for economically disadvantaged people in Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire, including:

  • Food bank;
  • Operator of Fareshare Grampian which distributes food which otherwise goes to waste in the North East;
  • Operator of a network of dozens of community food outlets which distribute high quality produce at affordable prices in local areas; and
  • Community Training Kitchen which offers cooking lessons and other transferable skills.

CFINE is lead partner of the PCF funded AHEAD+ programme, working in partnership with Grampian HA, North East Scotland Credit Union and Pathways (an employability charity) to deliver a holistic service to low income, disadvantaged, excluded and vulnerable people in the North East of Scotland.The services delivered benefit a large number of people - from those that receive in-depth financial advice and take up volunteer opportunities, to those that receive more light-touch support, such as making use of one of the regional food distribution centres.

Researchers' Observations:

An organisation that delivers a holistic range of complementary services and offers a number of opportunities to local people. CFINE works very well in partnership with a large number of organisations (with many of which it co-locates), and has a large number of volunteers working both at the CFINE HQ in central Aberdeen, in the surrounding areas of the city and Aberdeenshire - delivering food in local communities, this includes a community kitchen, café, and shop.The food bank service brings people in need to CFINE, who are then befriended to build trust so that other needs can also be addressed.

There are elements of co-production with service users becoming volunteers and then sometimes employed as staff members. There is a strong element of community consultation and a person focused approach is applied. There are a number of social enterprises established off the back of support from CFINE in conection with food in the community (training kitchen, allotment).

Falkirk Citizens Advice Bureau ( CAB) - Falkirk Area Welfare Benefits Advice Support Unit

The Falkirk Area Welfare Benefits Advice Support Unit (herein referred to as 'the Falkirk Advice Project') works in partnership with Falkirk, Grangemouth, and Denny and Dunipace Citizens Advice Bureaus, and Falkirk Council to deliver welfare benefit advice to those in need.

The service is designed to complement CAB and council services and to specifically work with people in particular need and offer them in-depth support to address their benefit needs. This can often include meeting them in a place where they feel comfortable such as their home.

The primary benefit that beneficiaries have gained from this support is financial - in that they are able to obtain welfare benefits they are entitled to, or successfully appeal against benefit sanctions, etc. They also experience numerous other benefits, such as being referred to other relevant support services, or feeling that they have regained control of their lives.

Researchers' Observations:

PCF funding enabled the CAB to deliver a separate targeted advice service regarding welfare benefits. Recent changes to benefits have increased the numbers needing advice and this service complements mainstream CAB and Council advice services allowing them to offer targeted support to people in crisis.

The levels of co-production with service users is limited as it is more or less a traditional support model of advisor/advisee. However, Falkirk CAB appears to have greatly improved its links with partners at a strategic level, particularly between the CAB and the Council. One of the major benefits for beneficiaries was that the project enabled services to be delivered in the community - generally in their own home. This allowed services to be delivered more easily to disabled and elderly people and made people more comfortable, and at ease to receive advice. There are ideas for the future, for example including delivering services in places such as nursing homes, etc.

The annualrity of PCF funding has been found to cause a degree of disruption to the service.

Horshader Community Development Trust ( CDT) - Horshader Rural Support and Connect Project

The Horshader CDT is a community-owned charitable trust which provides a variety of services to the local rural community, including providing grants to other local community organisations through the proceeds of a community wind turbine.

The PCF funding has allowed the Trust to deliver a local community transport and handyman scheme, primarily aimed at elderly and disabled people in the area, and to fill a gap left by reduced local authority services. For many beneficiaries, Horshader CDT provides services that they trust and gives them back their autonomy. The scheme has been very well received by the local community, however, this popularity has meant that it can be stretched at times as there is only one PCF funded service delivery staff member.

Researchers' Observations:

This scheme is delivered by a mature community organisation in a remote, rural area. The Trust runs its own community funding programme from revenue generated by a community wind turbine. The organisation has also recently opened a community café and charity shop.

The PCF funded rural bus service is a replacement for a Local Authority funded transport service which was discontinued some years ago. The project provides lifeline services to elderly and disable people. The handyman service has also been particularly useful for elderly and disabled people.

The organisation has strong links with the local community and provides a range of services, particularly targeted at more vulnerable people. Regarding 'co-production', clients of the handyman or minibus services provide some direction, e.g. what work they require or where they need to go, but are not involved beyond that given the nature of the client group. However, any feedback provided by the clients in an informal way is used to inform the development of new services.

Next Step Initiative ( NSI) - Inspiring Transformation

Established in 2009 as a charitable voluntary organisation, NSI employs five members of staff and focuses on engaging with the African and Caribbean communities in Scotland.

The key objectives of the organisations are to reach out to individuals of the African and Caribbean community, help build capacities and skills, improve the quality of life, and support the integration of these Black and Minority Ethnic ( BME) communities into the civic life of Scottish society thereby addressing key issues of employability, financial inclusion and social enterprise.

In addition to reaching out to local companies (to arrange work placements), NSI operates in close collaboration with a wide range of more strategic organisations including partners such as Police Scotland, the University of West of Scotland (Africa Forum), Glasgow HA (Wheatley Group), Historic Scotland, HMRC, and many others. The partner organisations benefit from NSI's access to the beneficiary group (to increase awareness and understanding of the specific needs, to deliver improved services and improve their equality and social responsibilities).

Researchers' Observations:

A well thought through approach working at multiple levels of engagement for all involved. This project is a good example of co-production at strategic as well as service user level (where corporate social responsibility meets community engagement).

Well established organisation providing a range of services to African abd Caribbean communities in Scotland. Evidence of strong partnership working with other agencies and employers - with mutual benefits. Social enterprises have been launched off the back of support from NSI including catering services, virtual media business, private taxi company and a business mentoring company.

Theme: 'Peer Mentoring' and 'Volunteering'

Castle Rock Edinvar HA/Fresh Start - Helping Hands

Fresh Start is an Edinburgh based homeless charity which delivers a variety of services including:

  • 'Hit Squad' service that assists people with decorating their new home;
  • Community gardens;
  • Community kitchen including cooking lessons; and
  • Social enterprise which conducts PAT testing and also works as an employability programme.

Castle Rock Edinvar HA acted as the lead on the project and funded Fresh Start to expand a number of their activities to the Craigmillar area of Edinburgh including setting up a new community garden and kitchen, and carrying out cooking lessons and Hit Squad activities.

Beneficiaries of these sevices are generaly those who are homeless or at risk of homelessness. Beneficiaries receive a number of benefits through the support, including: financial benefits, increasing their skill levels, increasing their confidence, making friends, and accessing volunteer opportunties.

Researchers' Observations:

This project is embedded in the community with an established pool of volunteers who give their time to help others. The project has identified the need to help homeless people at risk of poverty to adapt to new homes, learn new skills, socialise etc. There are good relationships with partner bodies across the public and third sectors - who make referrals when necessary. Of two volunteers at the workshop session, one is hoping to use the experience to enter the police, the other is now involved in a local charity.

This project is a good example of effective service delivery. It is led by an established community organisation which delivers the same services at a different location in the city. PCF supported the expansion of the services to Craigmillar. In terms of co-production and co-design, due to the type of support provided (getting homeless people into homes), service users tend not to be engaged for very long. The organisation is in the process of creating a Service Users Group which will include a group of former service users to advise on delivery improvements. The plan is to have people on the group for a limited time and to train replacements from amongst more recent service users.

DRC Generations - Mentoring Transition Support Service

DRC Generations is a community controlled voluntary organisation which actively engages with local people in the Dumbarton Road area of Glasgow, meeting the needs of both individuals and of the community.

PCF funding supported a wide range of activities, including promoting awareness of addictions (particularly drugs and alcohol) through peer mentoring - and many of the children receiving this awareness training then go on to become peer mentors themselves; family activities; community events; and an outreach and support service.

This work ensures that sustainable support is provided to the community, an increased number of local people engage with their services (and take up volunteer positions), young people are provided with appropriate age-related information and advice relating to addictions and, one-to-one support and signposting to other services is delivered effectively.

The work carried out by DRC Generations is linked to a number of partner organisations and community groups, and all groups are closely involved in the development and delivery of the services. This project has managed to develop more in-depth initiatives through the co-creation process, and there are very strong relationships and trusting bonds between DRC Generations and their partner groups.

Researchers' Observations:

DRC Generations activities and services have evolved over time and have been built on the learning from previous and continuing support provision in a complementary, integrated fashion. It became clear when talking to staff, stakeholders and beneficiaries that the support provided by DRC is very much integrated in the local community.

This is a good example of co-creation and co-delivery - all groups (including schools, parents, young people, local community) are involved in the development and delivery of the services. Community members feel that they are listened to, and that they can voice their opinions as and when needed. Service users were very positive about their experience and many had gone on to volunteer. All groups described DRC Generations as a family or community, with everyone viewed equally. There was a high level of co-creation in 2014 which has continued in 2017.

GALE - Volunteer Development

The GALE Centre is at the heart of a very rural community in Gairloch in the Highlands. The Volunteer Development Project has enabled the GALE Centre to increase activities and services through the creation of a dedicated Volunteer Development Officer, who works to support the expansion of the volunteer opportunities within the GALE Centre for all community members, with the aim of increasing social inclusion within the local area.

Since its inception, the project has increased its partnership working and is currently in discussions to continue to expand its joint services e.g. working with local community groups, social care, and with Skills Development Scotland ( SDS) to increase employability opportunities.

Staff members are proactive in consulting with volunteers and community members to help determine local needs, and volunteers are encouraged to provide input into the development of activities/service and provide suggestions and/or improvements for delivery. The project brings together individuals from diverse backgrounds and has enabled people to interact with groups they may not have previously engaged with.

Researchers' Observations:

The GALE Centre is at the heart of a remote, rural community. The Volunteer Development Project has enabled the Centre to increase its activities and services through the creation of a dedicated Volunteer Development Officer position (funded by PCF). Many staff members identified this role and the clear implementation structures as the key factors in the project's success.

Staff members actively consult with volunteers and community members to determine local needs and attend to suggestions for improvements of delivery. The benefits of the volunteer training contribute to improved service provision in the local community, but has also helped the volunteers to feel more included and connected with their community.


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