Issue date: 27 February 2001

Reconnecting Society Conference
28 February 2001, 10.00am to 4.30pm at @Bristol

Community involvement in regeneration, regional governance and the development of effective and genuine partnerships will be central to discussions at the 'Reconnecting Society' conference on 28 February.

The Right Honourable Paul Boateng MP, Minister of State for the Home Office and deputy Home Secretary will deliver the keynote speech. This major conference has been organised jointly by the Community Development Foundation, the Centre for Local Democracy at the University of the West of England and the SW Trades Union Council.

The conference is being held at the new @ Bristol venue and has attracted over 150 participants from across England.

Alison Gilchrist of the Community Development Foundation said, "This conference provides an opportunity for people at the cutting edge of community regeneration to share experience with policy makers, funders and academics interested in regeneration and regionalisation. People involved in grass root organisations will have the chance to question what's behind the rhetoric and the research."

The conference itself represents an unusual coalition of government advisors, community workers, trade unionists and academics working together to focus on the question of regional governance and improving democratic participation.

Also speaking are Adeeba Malik and Judy Robinson: two members of Regional Development Boards in Yorkshire and the North West of England, respectively. They share the platform with Jonathon Porritt, the government’s chief advisor on environmental issues and sustainable development and an honorary graduand of UWE and Frances O’Grady, a senior national officer at the TUC who will give a trade union perspective.

Jonathon Porritt said, “There are lots of new ideas floating around about regeneration, neighbourhood renewal, local strategic partnerships, community planning, sustainable development and so on. For some, this looks like clumsy and uncoordinated initiativitus; for others, it provides a long overdue and very welcome framework for really getting to grips with improving people’s quality of life at the local level. But stitching it all together is a massive task.”

In addition to the main speakers, there are a range of practical workshops on health, local social capital, community leadership, the Internet, social exclusion, equalities, community unionism, regional governance and cross-sectoral partnerships.

The conference has been sponsored by the South West of England Regional Development Agency and the Network on Social Exclusion.


Editors Notes:
Alison Gilchrist - Community Development Foundationt
Tel (0117) 935 5483
Nigel Costley - SW Trades Union Council
Tel (0117) 947 0521
Robin Hambleton Centre for Local Democracy (UWE)
Tel (0117) 344 3093

FFI: Jane Kelly or Mary Price, Press Officers
Tel: 0117 3442208; fax: 0117 976 3912;
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