Salford: regenerating the inner city


The Seedley and Langworthy Trust (SALT) is a community-driven development trust. The trust works in partnership with Salford City Council, statutory organisations and other partners in an inner city area of Salford that is being regenerated. SALT aims to strengthen community ties and encourage local residents to play an active role in improving the quality of life in their area.

Key learnings for other councils

The community can sometimes drive things more quickly than agencies can respond. For example, following the opening of a new local health and wellbeing centre, local residents were supported by SALT to be part of the management board governing the building.

Over time, it became clear that local community representatives wanted to not only manage the building but had ambitions to own the building itself as an asset . Community empowerment isn't a ‘one off' intervention, nor is it task-specific. Once people are involved and empowered in their community ‘everything is possible'.

Background

The communities of Seedley and Langworthy face many socio-economic problems. These include financial exclusion, lack of basic skills and high unemployment rates. The 2004 indices of multiple deprivation (IMD) placed Salford twelfth out of 354 local authorities - where first is the most deprived. On this measure the city is among the most deprived nationally.

Langworthy is one of the most deprived wards in the city. There is a high proportion of lone parents on benefits, and a high proportion of incapacity benefit claimants. More than 39 per cent of households receive housing or council tax benefits - compared to a citywide average of 30 per cent. Unemployment rates locally are 9.4 per cent - compared to a four per cent citywide average.

Who was involved?

The trust works collaboratively with Salford City Council, statutory organisations and other partners. However, it remains an autonomous organisation with a responsibility to lobby and challenge on behalf of its community.

SALT was set up in 1997 by a local ward councillor, a housing association manager and local residents who shared a common desire to change the declining local neighbourhood.

The problems and how we tackled them

The trust exists to make sure the community is equipped to solve local problems. As an umbrella organisation, its main aim is to promote self-help through all of its activities. For example, by working intensively alongside residents' groups, SALT encourages residents to take control and responsibility for managing their own communal areas.

The trust was instrumental in lobbying local and national government to gain large-scale investment in regenerating the area. This resulted in a £13.7 million area-based investment through single regeneration budget round 5 (SRB5) funding, which levered in additional investment of about £60 million.

The trust provides platforms for residents to have a greater say in local decision making. An example is the Seedley and Langworthy Forum, set up in partnership with Salford City Council's Neighbourhood Management team and supported and facilitated by the trust.

The forum provides an opportunity to bring residents, officers and elected members together to address community issues and neighbourhood services. Many initiatives are formed and agreed in these open meetings, such as the ‘Friday Night' initiative - a youth crime diversionary programme.

A successful European Social Fund bid enabled the resource centre to open, manned by an army of committed local volunteers. The trust's relationships in the community meant that it was charged with delivering major aspects of an ambitious social programme.

The trust worked with the city council and partners to create a programme to deliver innovative action and change in the area, including such initiatives as:

  • influencing legislation on landlord accreditation
  • creating the first 'Homeswaps' in the country, which gave local residents the opportunity to move out of clearance areas without leaving the neighbourhood, and successfully addressed the issue of negative equity.

The trust also raised residents' awareness of the programme, provided local employment opportunities and ensured local people benefited from the research. An example of this is the council's commissioning of SALT to undertake the SRB5 mid-term evaluation. By investing in SALT's community research enterprise, the council invested in the local economy by creating eight local part-time jobs.

The Communities that Care (CtC) programme was piloted in Seedley and Langworthy. The programme aimed to identify and address the risk factors associated with a range of neighbourhood problems. These included teenage pregnancy, drug and alcohol abuse and low educational attainment. The programme led to new ways of working in the neighbourhood.

Outcomes and Impact

The trust has made a successful Big Lottery bid, focused wholly on addressing worklessness. By attracting almost £0.5 million investment over three years, it has added real resources to the Working Neighbourhoods agenda. It also brings a residents' perspective to the issues faced by those traditionally perceived to be ‘hard-to-reach'. This helps to ensure that statutory service providers are brought closer to the issues and barriers faced by local unemployed people.

Owner occupancy has increased in recent years to approximately 50 per cent which supports the sustainability and stability of the neighbourhood. This is largely due to residents moving into Homeswap properties from adjacent areas.

Property prices have increased significantly over the past decade. In 1999 the average property was less than £10,000. In 2009 the average terraced house sold for more than £80,000. Bringing residents out of negative equity enables them to invest in their houses, raises housing market confidence and helps build confident, stable neighbourhoods.

More than 25 alley-gated areas have been transformed from under-used voids into award-winning green havens with creative planting and seating. In partnership with Salford City Council, SALT has worked with residents groups to take ownership of under-used plots of land and transform them into community-managed gardens. These gardens are self-managed providing much needed green space in a dense inner-city area of the city.

What we could have done better

The SRB5 programme which started the regeneration in Seedley and Langworthy ended three years ago. As a Housing Market Renewal (HMR) Pathfinder area the focus of the programme is ‘bricks and mortar' with little or no money for 'social programme' activities.

SALT has supported residents for more than a decade to play an active, meaningful role in regenerating their local community. However, the focus of regeneration work has widened beyond the boundaries of Seedley and Langworthy.

The challenge however, is identifying and securing funding and resources to work with this wider neighbourhood area. It is too early to assess what impact the introduction of the Working Neighbourhoods Fund will have on this wider work.

The exploration of asset-transfer from the city council to the trust could create financial security and sustainability for the trust. It could break the cycle of grant dependency and initiating new income-generating activity for the trust.

Hazel Blears MP, former Minister for Local Government and Communities said:

"The Seedley and Langworthy Trust has worked tirelessly over the last 10 years to improve the environment, opportunities and lives of local people.

"The key to their success has been their work in making sure that local people have their voices heard, that their opinions and fears are expressed clearly to those in authority. SALT believes local people are best placed to decide for themselves what will meet their needs."

Gill Finley, Housing Market Renewal Manager, Salix Homes said:

"SALT is committed to the community and over the past 10 years has continued to work hard to support and advise the community throughout a long and difficult process of regeneration.

"They have pursued every opportunity to bring added benefit to local residents. They have been a key partner in the successful revival of neighbourhoods and most importantly local people. The area now has a sustainable future."

Further information

Lorna Leaston, General Manager
The Seedley and Langworthy Trust
191 Langworthy Road, Seedley
Salford M6 5PW
telephone: 0161 737 9918
email: lorna.leaston@sali.org.uk