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Neighbourhood Action Network

Author: Cate Newnessmith
Published Date: 1 April 2007

The Neighbourhood Action Network is designed to encourage and accelerate innovation in neighbourhood working, using a combination of practical action, research, action learning and experimentation.

Building on the success of Transforming Neighbourhoods the Young Foundation has launched the Neighbourhood Action Network (NAN). This programme is designed to encourage and accelerate innovation in neighbourhood working, using a combination of practical action, research, action learning, and experimentation. The main aim is to maximise opportunities for people in neighbourhoods and local communities to be involved in local decision-making as well as projects which will increase their well-being and improve their quality of life.

The programme brings together local authorities and national organisations with an interest in the neighbourhoods agenda. These include Barking and Dagenham, Birmingham, Bradford, Camden, Hackney, Haringey, King’s Lynn and West Norfolk Borough Council, Knowsley, Lewisham, Newcastle, Surrey, Tower Hamlets and Wakefield, the Housing Corporation, Improvement and Development Agency, Joseph Rowntree Foundation and the Local Government Association.

The programme focuses on four workstreams:

  • Practical projects: practical work is essential to our approach. It provides local insights and ensures our policy and practice recommendations are grounded in real experience. Our practical projects with local authorities will include work on the impact of neighbourhood working, neighbourhood working in very diverse communities, organisational culture, councillor roles and youth engagement.
  • Research and policy development: findings from these practical projects will feed into broader research and policy development.
  • Action learning events: a programme of themed Action Learning Days to share with all the members of NAN the findings of all our work.
  • Practical pilots:our first initiative is to pilot Neighbourhoods Taskforces, a new model being developed by the Young Foundation to tackle entrenched problems in areas where engagement between public services, neighbourhood groups and residents is difficult.
  • NAN will run for two years from April 2007 to March 2009.

    Why Neighbourhoods?

    In recent years, the neighbourhoods agenda has been of increasing interest to both central and local government. This is evidenced by the increased priority given to neighbourhood and community empowerment in Whitehall pronouncements and policies. Following on from our work on Transforming Neighbourhoods, our first neighbourhoods consortium, we aim to continue providing research and projects that support local communities and increase their sense of empowerment along with greater powers at a local level.