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Tackling difficult estates

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There are up to 2,000 difficult social housing estates across the UK. Residents, landlords, local authorities, government and other agencies face a challenging set of problems in trying to make these ‘difficult to live in’ areas work. In some of these estates there are individuals and organisations who are successfully rebuilding communities - tackling unemployment, crime, health, family and youth problems and co-ordinating service delivery. This report summarises the presentations and discussion at a seminar on ‘Tackling Difficult Estates’ organised by CASE on behalf of the Social Exclusion Unit. It took place at the National Tenants Resource Centre, at Trafford Hall near Chester, on 30th-31st March 1998. The seminar brought together front line practitioners, civil servants, policy makers and community representatives – all interested in looking at positive ways to make deprived neighbourhoods better. We heard presentations from practitioners who live and work on difficult estates about their experiences. Cutting across the different case study examples were several common themes about the types of approaches that have been shown to work, together with questions about how to replicate and implement these approaches in other estates. Those themes and outstanding questions are summarised here. The case studies are given in full in the second section. As well as the recommendations from the frontline project examples, we heard about two sets of stimulating proposals: for neighbourhood management; and rebuilding communities. These are outlined in the third section of the document. The organisers are very grateful to Trafford Hall for its help in making this event happen, and to all the participants for their contributions.

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