Oxmoor shows the way to help deprived areas
REGENERATION of the Oxmoor area of north Huntingdon over the past five years is set to show the way for helping other deprived areas of Huntingdonshire, particularly Ramsey and parts of St Neots. Oxmoor, Ramsey and surrounding villages and Eynesbury have
REGENERATION of the Oxmoor area of north Huntingdon over the past five years is set to show the way for helping other deprived areas of Huntingdonshire, particularly Ramsey and parts of St Neots.
Oxmoor, Ramsey and surrounding villages and Eynesbury have been identified as socially deprived and in need of concerted management by councils, the NHS, the police, other public authorities and social landlords, such as the Luminus Group.
The Oxmoor regeneration project, costing £12million-plus over six years, came to an end in March. The new objective, under a scheme handed down from Whitehall, is to continue the work at Oxmoor and support the other communities.
Although the Oxmoor scheme involved some capital works, particularly some new housing, shops, the Oak Tree health centre and improving public open spaces, its main aim was to help the community to help itself.
"We have to keep the momentum going, and it fits neatly with the Government's agenda for neighbourhood management," County Councillor Victor Lucas, the cabinet member responsible, told The Hunts Post.
"We want to be able to draw down additional funding from Government and our partners."
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There is no global budget, but each of the organisations involved is expected to co-ordinate priority spending on services in the areas.
Particular concerns include housing, health, low-level crime and educational achievement - all regarded as indicators of social deprivation.
The Oxmoor project has been successful in galvanising residents to set up their own groups, often using community facilities, to improve life in the area.
The rate of teenage pregnancies, a key indicator, has been dropping there since young adults started their own maturity-enhancing groups and also got involved in voluntary work. Anti-social behaviour has also declined.
"It's still a deprived area, but what this shows is that, even where there's not much money and not much employment, you can really engage the community. We want to build on that," Cllr Lucas said.
The breakfast club at Thongsley schools was a good example, he said. Not only were children getting a good diet, but parents from the community had become involved in preparing and serving the meals.