The need for an area regeneration board in Castle and Priory arose towards the end of the SRB II programme. The SRB II programme was a six-year programme running from 1996 to 31st March 2002. A continuation strategy was needed to build on the work that had been implemented and a new board was needed to replace the existing SRB II implementation group.
A community conference was held on Thursday 14th December 2000 at Priory Primary School. The purpose of this conference was to get local people to appraise the work that had been achieved under SRB and identify what else could build on and extend the existing regeneration work. It was also needed to bring service providers and service users together to identify further actions needed to link the work into the Neighbourhood Renewal Strategy 2001-2006 for Dudley.
One hundred and twenty people turned out on a cold, wet December evening to ‘have their say’. People signed up to 12 themed workshops to appraise and identify work. (These workshops later formed into the ‘communities of interest’ that sat around the area board). During the workshops, the attendee’s were asked to choose a model out of four choices, which would be the set up of the board for Castle and Priory. At the feedback session, option 3 was identified as the preferred option. This was the largest option and has the greatest community representation.
There were 12 communities of interest having one representative on the board and one substitute. Each community of interest had to sign up to the board by defining:
The board attended a series of training sessions run by Co-operation Black Country before becoming responsible for directing the final year of the SRB programme. Following this, in 2004, the Neighbourhood Management Initiative facilitated the board to deliver the Neighbourhood Renewal agenda for the ward.
In 2008, Community Renewal supported the development of the board until 2011when the staff were made redundant. The board had many achievements during this time, including running the first local assembly in the borough. The board continues to move from strength to strength with the commitment of local people and the support of local service providers. Recent achievements include the Community First Panel funding and the Crime Innovation fund project.