The Bermondsey and Rotherhithe Development Partnership (BRDP) is a consortium representing a variety of groups, agencies and people living or working within the riverside areas in the north of the London Borough of Southwark, the second "most deprived" Borough in England and Wales. The partnership's area exhibits severe symptoms of urban stress, with pockets of extreme social isolation, unemployment and poverty. A recent survey undertaken by Time & Talents has highlighted these issues and demonstrated a deeply fragmented community. Although parts of the area have been re-developed by the LDDC in relatively recent years, there remains a desperate need for a process of overall regeneration to take place. The partnership is committed to developing the networks and securing the resources to allow this to happen.
The partnership currently has active representation from two community development agencies / settlements (who have to date shared the co-ordination of its development), tenants' and residents' associations, local community, amenity and youth groups and projects, councillors, churches, Optimum Health Trust, the local Police and various Council officers.
The Bermondsey & Rotherhithe Development Partnership seeks to build on the massive physical and structural redevelopment carried out by the LDDC by bringing together old and new residents, businesses and agencies to tackle the significant social and economic problems that remain in order to make this part of north Southwark a safe and attractive place in which to live, work and invest for the future.
To achieve this the partnership will develop proposals and make whatever bids are appropriate to raise the resources to:
The BRDP initially formed in 1995 to make a comprehensive bid under Round 2 of the Single Regeneration Bid process. An outline bid was submitted but was not successful although it did receive some encouragement from the Government Office for London in relation to some parts of the bid.
Members of the partnership continued to sustain an informal network of common interest and at the beginning of 1997 it was decided to renew the bidding process by holding an open meeting to which representatives of all voluntary and statutory bodies with an interest in the area were invited. It is from that meeting that the current partnership has emerged.
Since 1997 the partnership has continued meeting to develop its networks within the community and to refine the vision and clarify how it might achieve its aims. A key decision has been to keep a broad, holistic vision, whilst acknowledging that any one funding regime might cover only a part of its aims. The partnership recognises that it now needs to move from a relatively informal consortium approach to one that seeks major partners from all sectors - especially the statutory and commercial sectors - and then establishes a representative structure. It also recognises the need for the process to engage and involve local residents in further refining the vision and developing plans to realise it.
To this end it is hoped to arrange a major conference in 2000 addressing the key themes of the vision which has emerged from known local needs, to which representatives of all sectors will be invited. The conference should open out the vision to community endorsement, agree and identify the key components of a plan to address issues and needs, as well as an appropriate representative structure to secure funds for the various components and see them through.
The BRDP also recognises the urgent need for dedicated paid worker time to take things further. It is currently applying for funds, via the Time & Talents Association, to appoint a Development Worker who will devote at least 3 days a week to this task.
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