A Conservation Management Curriculum

Cultures of stability
Sustainability indicators
Behaviour change
Ecological plans
Community action plans 1
Community action plans 2
Social justice

Community partnership Coastal zone plans


Map 9: Community-led local operational partnership       

The Beacon estate (pop. 6000) is sited in the ward of Penwerris. In the Index of Multiple Deprivation 2000, it ranked among the worst 10% of wards in the country. In 1996, a Bristol University survey found it was the most deprived ward in Cornwall. According to the Breadline Britain Index, it had the highest proportion of poor households of the county’s 133 wards. More than 30% of households were living in poverty. It had the largest percentage of children in households with no wage earners, the second highest number of children living with lone parents and more than 50% of the 1500 homes were without central heating. Its illness rate was 18% above the national average. In a climate of mistrust between the police and community, violent crime, drug dealing and intimidation were rife. With little central heating, the cold, damp homes had resulted in a sharp rise in childhood asthma and respiratory problems. ‘It was a community in despair, pushing the ‘self destruct’ button, heavily stigmatized and on a seemingly unstoppable spiral of decline.’

By 1999 however the estate had undergone a remarkable transformation to become a multi-award winning national flagship for community renewal. The project was led by two health visitors, Hazel Stuteley and Phil Trenoweth , according the the following plan. 

Hazel Stuteley says: ‘The reversal of a community suffering decline demands action to initiate connectivity. Ideally this would come spontaneously from residents but this rarely happens due to the intimidating power of a destructive minority of their peers. Someone has to act and initiate new relationships and create the spaces for reconnection of residents to each other and between them and the agencies who serve them. The starting point is having an unshakeable belief in a community’s capacity to heal itself. My experience has been that this capacity is always there even in the bleakest of scenarios. It is always only around 1% of the population who create the mayhem and dysfunction which characterizes our so called ’sink’ estates or communities. The vast majority of residents are dignified, resilient and strong citizens. They have to be. Living below the breadline with all the challenges of a poor economy, probable poor health, housing, unemployment and a crime-blighted neighbourhood makes for some strong individuals and families. It is harnessing this strength and creating an enabling environment for them to lead change for themselves which is key to beginning the transformation process. Nurses, GPs and frontline health workers have a huge advantage in being the catalysts of such change, a massive ‘given’ and this is trust. For many residents with negative early life experiences, an innate mistrust of all authority is deeply embedded but this rarely applies to health personnel. Other agencies also tend to trust the health sector. Given that we believe in the capacity of residents, what is the message we wish to convey? Too often in community renewal initiatives emanating from large organizations it can be interpreted as "You’re inadequate, incompetent, deprived and broken…we’re going to fix you". It needs to be "We believe you have the strength and the shared sense of history of your  neighbourhood to make this a community to be proud of, a good place to live and work." ’


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