A test of change in how to lift two neighbourhoods completely out of poverty.



Over the past 20 years, Community Renewal has worked in 17 of the poorest neighbourhoods in Scotland, and what we have mostly observed is that frontline public services are trapped in their own silos, working separately in areas such as housing, healthcare, employability, welfare and money, education, youth services and community regeneration to name but a few

In addition, some neighbourhoods have experienced several waves of regeneration efforts going back to the 1970s.

Despite all this investment, there is little impact over time on the overall level of poverty in a neighbourhood – even when each individual service meets their annual targets.


There are so many government policies – all aimed at the same families.

Lifting Neighbourhoods Together is a radical project which will test a simpler solution to addressing poverty at a neighbourhood level.

From October 2020 our Neighbourhood Teams will be working in Bingham/Magdalene and Walker.

Rather than organising services and activities around specific policies we will organise resources around the needs of the families and the community as a whole.

Existing public and third sector workers will be invited to join our Neighbourhood Team bringing their expertise into the team but working from a set of principles and holistic working methods that look at the whole person or whole family rather than leading with their specialism.

The Neighbourhood Team will work street by street, systematically engaging every single household in a listening conversation.

Each household that needs support to lift themselves out of poverty will be supported by the same team member for the 4 years of the initiative. That team member will case manage the need to bring in the specialist knowledge of colleagues to support as required.


We are interested in measuring the success of this test of change in a range of different ways:

  • are residents of the area better able to get the right support locally at the right time?
  • has the community become more involved in influencing key decisions at a community planning level?
  • has the community begun to achieve some of its aspirations set out in its vision of a better place?
  • does the neighbourhood feel like a safer and better place to live where people who improve their income are more likely to stay in the area?
  • for Neighbourhood Team members, how does it feel to be less incumbered by strict service boundaries and be more able to respond to people’s actual needs?
  • does working this way prevent people falling into crisis and therefore require less crisis intervention support in housing, mental health and social care?
  • have we managed to support jobless people into work and people experiencing in-work poverty into better work, building a bridge to the best employment opportunities in the city?
  • have we supported older people to become more connected and less isolated?
  • have we bridged the educational attainment gap for young people?
  • have we ensured that every young person achieves a positive destination when leaving school?


We are just at the start of this project and would love to hear from you. If you are interested in being part of Lifting Neighbourhoods Together, or just want to find out more about the project, then please do get in touch – karen.harkins@communityrenewal.org.uk

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Lifting Neighbourhoods Together is funded by the National Lottery Community Fund and will be delivered by Community Renewal with Building Futures East in Newcastle.