9: The role of community anchor organisations in regulating for engagement in a devolved government setting

This chapter considers the role of community anchor organisations in the ‘flagship’ regeneration programme of the National Assembly for Wales, ‘Communities First’, launched in 2001 and later terminated in March 2018. It unpicks the story of the programme’s evolution and demise from the perspectives of community development advisors and community development practitioners, the latter based in two community organisations in South Wales: South Riverside Community Development Centre (SRCDC) in Cardiff and 3Gs Community Development Trust in Merthyr Tydfil. Both organisations were involved in the Productive Margins programme and in the design and analysis of this research. Both pre-existed the Communities First programme and were charged with its delivery to local people. The chapter thus looks at the regulatory context in which these organisations found themselves and how they negotiated the demands of the state-funded programme, on the one hand, and their accountabilities to the communities that they believed they represented, on the other. A key question remains as to whether the involvement of community organisations in state-funded programmes can facilitate regulation for engagement for social change or whether their power to improve the well-being of the communities they represent might better be served in providing alternative modes of living.

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