Capacity building for community-led regeneration: Facilitating or frustrating public engagement?

P. O'Hare

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to examine the impact of European Union Objective 1 funding on the development and formalisation of a neighbourhood-based group situated in a regeneration area in the UK. The role, function and impact of a Community Empowerment Network (CEN) (funded by the Labour Government as part of its Neighbourhood Renewal Strategy) is also examined and assessed.Design/methodology/approach – The findings of the paper are informed by a critique of the policy literature and the ways in which “leadership” roles and responsibilities are played out within neighbourhood settings. The empirical research derives from an analysis of the role and practice of CENs in England.Findings – The paper argues that the external initiatives restrict the autonomy and independence of community based groups. Furthermore, the paper makes the point that such externally driven programmes are often located within neighbourhoods with little reference to identifying the needs or priorities of residents.Research limitations/implications – There are important lessons here for policy makers and practitioners in public policy to reflect upon. The paper seeks to draw connections between the literature on community development and planning/regeneration management. These links are important to sustain and to open the discussion to a broader audience of researchers and practice managers.Practical implications – The paper raises questions concerning how local residents/groups can be facilitated into articulating their needs and exercising agency in terms of changing the decision-making/resource allocation processes.Originality/value – The paper adds to understanding the practice of empowerment networks.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)32-47
Number of pages16
JournalInternational Journal of Sociology and Social Policy
Issue number1/2
Publication statusPublished - 2010


  • Regeneration
  • Empowerment
  • Community planning
  • England
  • Public policy


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