East Manchester NDC ‘made progress but area still fragile’

East Manchester's £77m New Deal for Communities programme achieved almost all it set out to over its ten-year life, according to an evaluation study.

The programme was run by urban regeneration company New East Manchester and received £51.8m from New Deal for Communities and £25.9m from the Single Regeneration Budget, both Government initiatives launched by New Labour. The programme covered social, economic and physical interventions and closed at the end of March 2010.

Regeneration consultancy Ekosgen, in a report commissioned by New East Manchester, said NDC helped cut crime by 40% and reduce unemployment by 25% during the period.

In terms of property-related outcomes, NDC helped deliver The Grange community centre in Beswick, a sports centre in Openshaw, transfer council housing stock to Eastlands Homes and refurbish 2,800 houses and a new primary school in Ashbury Meadow.

Elsewhere, funding went into schemes such as help for drug users to access jobs and health advice for elderly people. Ekosgen said all the allocated money was spent and in many cases project managers won extra backing to continue their work.

However, the consultants said the "area is still fragile and regeneration momentum has slowed down due to the recession".

Ekosgen's report was compiled following consultation with 150 residents and 25 stakeholders including Greater Manchester Police, North Manchester Primary Care Trust and Eastlands Homes.

In 1999 only 25% of residents felt closely involved in the local community, by 2008 the level was 53%. In the same year 40% had plans to move from their present home, which dropped to 24% by 2008. In 1999 only 19% of residents felt the area was getting better which increased to almost half by 2008. In addition only 11% of residents felt the area was getting safer in 1999 and this had increased to over a third in 2008.

Eddie Smith, chief executive of New East Manchester said: "We asked for an open and honest assessment so we can use the results to shape how we take forward the regeneration of the area in the future, and we're pleased with the outcome of this report. Our holistic approach to regeneration in this part of the city has clearly delivered the transformation we desired.

"We've found that 67% of residents are now satisfied with the area and want to remain here which speaks volumes. From the outset we adopted an integrated partnership approach to tackle multiple deprivation and it's great that this has been recognised nationally as an example of good practice in community-led regeneration. All this would have been possible without the commitment and enthusiasm of the NDC team, residents and local councillors. As part of NEM's role we will continue to narrow further the socio-economic disparities which still persist."

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