30/07/2004

Major renewal initiative to benefit deprived areas

Around 250,000 people living in the most deprived parts of Northern Ireland are set to benefit from a major new strategy for neighbourhood regeneration, Social Development Minister, John Spellar has said.

Thirty-two areas have been selected for priority treatment under the People and Place strategy, which was launched last year. The areas, identified as suffering from the most severe multiple deprivation, include 13 neighbourhoods in Belfast, four in Londonderry, and 15 in other towns and cities - all of which are in the top 10% of the most disadvantaged areas in Northern Ireland.

The aim of the scheme is to improve sustainable economic activity, produce better social conditions through better public services and to provide attractive and safe living conditions in the targeted areas.

John Spellar said that the benefits created from the 32 areas would flow across boundaries into neighbouring areas.

He said: "Neighbourhood Renewal Areas will not become isolated islands of regeneration, competing against each other for funds. Each area will access its fair share of designated funds, although the pace of progress may vary, particularly in the early stages."

Mr Spellar also announced a pilot programme to help combat deprivation outside the Neighbourhood Renewal Areas.

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