Select Committee on Office of the Deputy Prime Minister: Housing, Planning, Local Government and the Regions Memoranda


Hartcliffe and Withywood Community Partnership Background Information (GRI 16 (I))


  Hartcliffe and Withywood Community Partnership (HWCP) was established to lead the regeneration of the local area and to co-ordinate the "Working Together for Change" Single Regeneration Budget Round five (SRB5) scheme. HWCP is controlled by local residents, led by local needs and focuses on locally led solutions.

  Hartcliffe and Withywood are two post war estates on the southern edge of Bristol, mainly built in the 1950s and 1960s. In fact, 2002 is the 50th anniversary of the first houses being built and occupied. The area now has a combined population of 20,000 (8,000 households). When designed, the estates were intended to be self-contained and fully serviced. As was so often the case however, the money ran out and many of the planned facilities did not materialise.

  Combined with the economic recession of the late 1980s', the closure of the Wills' tobacco factory meant that the many people previously dependent upon manual and semi-skilled employment could no longer find jobs. The Wills factory (later Imperial Tobacco then Hanson Trust) employed about 5,000 people from Hartcliffe, Withywood and Knowle areas. It is estimated that closure of Wills precipitated the loss of another 20,000 jobs in associated industries, mainly across South Bristol. Public transport links to jobs elsewhere in the city were also poor and people suffered the added burden of "postcode" discrimination.

  To address these problems of infrastructure, employment and perceptions, the area was put forward for City Challenge funding in 1991. The failure of a second City Challenge bid in 1992, however, coincided with riots which left Symes Avenue, the commercial heart of the area, ransacked and in a state from which it has never properly recovered. This was followed by Business in the Community organised a "Seeing is Believing" visit in 1992.

  Hartcliffe and Withywood were, though, able to attract other of funding which helped contribute to a long period of capacity building in the local community. This included housing improvements under Estate Action and Capital Partnership funding for HWV to construct the Gatehouse Centre, opened in 1995.

  Consequently, the local community was able to work together to put forward a presentation to the community conference organised by the Bristol Regeneration Partnership (BRP) in October 1998. The outcome of the conference was that the Bristol communities selected Barton Hill to go forward for New Deal for Communities funding and Hartcliffe and Withywood were selected to bid for SRB5 funding.

  Local residents and organisations worked with the BRP, Bristol City Council and other key agencies to write a bid for SRB funding. A bid for £13.5 million SRB was submitted in April 1999 to the South West Regional Development Agency (SWRDA).

  In July 1999 SWRDA awarded £12.15 million (90 per cent of the bid) from the fifth round of the Single Regeneration Budget (SRB5) towards a £32.8 million scheme (with leverage of £17.6 million public sector funding and £3.1 million private sector funding) to help regenerate the local area. This is the largest grant to a local community in the south west. The scheme lasts seven years, up until March 2006.

  From the time of approval, local people and community organisations have put considerable time and effort into building local involvement and getting to grips with the intricacies of SRB funding.

  Unlike the other SRB schemes in Bristol, which are managed by the BRP, the SRB5 scheme has been community-led through HWCP, and in many ways has mirrored the New Deal for Communities approach.


  To manage the regeneration of the area local residents set up HWCP. HWCP is a limited company with charitable status. It held local elections for its Board In June 2002, which is made up of local people, businesses and agencies, with local people making up the majority of the membership. There are staff responsible for supporting the partnership and administering and managing the money.

  HWCP is working towards its vision of:

    "A strong local partnership, which will reduce poverty and exclusion in our diverse community by:

    —  creating opportunities for all to work and learn;

    —  improving our environment now and for the future;

    —  making the area a safe and healthy place to live."

  HWCP is achieving this vision through seven key themes of action to regenerate the area as a learning, locally owned, inclusive, healthy, balanced, working and safe community.

  HWCP is currently being run by a Board made up of ten local residents and the representatives from two local organisations, Bristol City council, local schools, youth projects, the Primary Care Trust and local employers organisations, together with advisors on disability, race and sustainability.

  Underneath the Board there are three theme groups made up of local residents, workers and representatives of local agencies. They are responsible for identifying problems, developing projects to spend the money on and monitoring projects once they are up and running. The theme groups are:

    —  Local Ownership, Balanced and Inclusive

    —  Safe and Healthy

    —  Learning and Working

  HWCP works hard to raise its profile in the area and to improve the image of the area to those outside. It has done this through its quarterly newsletter, wham!; setting up its own website []; the local champions who have given over 30 presentations to schools and community groups about the Partnership; producing a diary (delivered to every household and business in the area); and various events and articles in the local newspapers, on local radio and in the specialist regeneration press.

  HWCP sees itself as having a wider role than just managing the SRB5 scheme and has become involved in other regeneration initiatives in the area. It is represented on the Bristol Regeneration Partnership (BRP), Bristol (Local Strategic) Partnership, Hartcliffe, Highridge and Withywood Sure Start and the Withywood Education Action Zone (Success@). It has also supported the South Bristol URBAN2 bid.


  SRB works by giving money to projects, which have to fit in with HWCP's themes and strategic objectives. Projects go through a detailed process of project appraisal before funding for them is approved. Project Managers are then responsible for making projects happen. Over 40 projects have now been developed, covering a wide range of issues, to meet HWCP's aspirations.

  The first year of SRB5 (the year up to the end of March 2000) was mainly involved in setting up the office and all the systems, training people to enable them to get involved, collecting data about the local area and looking at how people are tackling similar problems elsewhere. The first project was approved, Capacity Building, which has successfully continued to operate in supporting the involvement of local people in the Partnership. In 2000/01 (Year two), 26 projects were approved and another 18 projects were approved in 2001/02 (Year three).

  From baseline research commissioned by HWCP two main priorities were identified—working with young people and tackling the problems of drug abuse and a "Vision Day" held in November 2000 confirmed these priorities. As a result two major community-led and cross-theme group projects have been developed, involving partners from different sectors. These both started in 2001: Kickin' Space (out of school activities for 4-16 year olds) and HAWKS (Hartcliffe and Withywood Kick Start—for action on drugs).

  Under the Balanced theme a wide range of activities have come forward that address environmental issues including: energy efficiency measures; environmental education; involving local people in improvements in local open space; housing improvements; and the investigation of the feasibility of a Green Business Park.

  The Healthy theme has brought forward projects that provide complementary therapies, sports development, healthy eating, and "warm" homes. Projects planned to start in Year three are to support carers and to help the prevention of teenage pregnancies.

  Existing Inclusive theme projects, which provide leisure and personal development opportunities for disabled people, welfare and other advice are continuing, while new work includes race equality, setting up a Disabled Persons Forum and an Older Persons Gardening project.

  Current Learning theme projects include the promotion of lifelong learning and the support of parents of children with special education needs. ICT needs in the area are being researched by several pilot activities.

  Under the Local Ownership theme the South Bristol Church and Community Trust Enabling project and the Hartcliffe Community Campus Development project are continuing with proposals for community, youth, lifelong learning and leisure facilities on different sites across the area. A Community Chest, giving local groups easier access to small grants of up to £1,000, was set up and a media and communications project is being developed. Also, HWCP intends to bring forward an external evaluation of the whole scheme.

  Safe theme work with community safety, safe and secure homes, safe victim and supporting ex-offenders continues and a traffic-calming project has started.

  A major Working theme project, Towards a Working Community has started and Securing the Future (Cater Road) will be coming on stream in 2001-02. The Childcare 2000 project, providing childcare during school holidays for working parent continues.


  HWCP has taken the issue of equalities and inclusion seriously right from the beginning. The original bid identified people of minority ethnic background, older people, disabled people, lone parents, young people and people living in poverty as local groups that experience double exclusion. The Inclusive Theme Group is taking this agenda forward and commissioned the University of the West of England (UWE) to carry out research into the needs of those identified, using local people from these groups as researchers.

  The HWCP Steering Group always meets in accessible venues. Advisors from the West of England Coalition of Disabled People (WECODP) and the Black Development Agency (BDA) attend its meetings. It also tries to ensure that all projects take the needs of excluded groups into account, through use of the advisors and proper consultation. HWCP has a hearing loop available for use, produces a large print copy of wham! and makes an effective use of electronic communications. Disability and race equality training is provided for both steering group members and project managers.

DirectorStephen Hewitt
Development WorkerKeren Suchecki
Finance and Monitoring OfficerJane Smallcombe
AdministratorSarah Drew
Media and Communications WorkerTroy Tanska
Theme Group Co-ordinatorTeresa Anstey
Theme Group Co-ordinatorCaroline Jenkins
Theme Group Co-ordinatorBob Lewis
Local ChampionVanessa Lewis
Local ChampionCheryl O'Connor

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Prepared 28 October 2002