.. titutionalisation was not acceptable or possible. The traditional social support networks found in the close knit occupational communities were also missing due to the decline of the close knit community. This was taken one step further when in the eighties, the desire to privatise public enterprises and reduce public expenditure, including industrial subsidies led to a rapid decline of manufacturing in the early 1980s and led to historically high levels of unemployment. Which as we have seen weakens a communities social support network. Over the last twenty years the main way social policy has responded to these problems is by encouraging the development of community care initiatives, these can be split into two main categories Care in the community and Care by the community.
Care by the community mostly applies to the elderly and puts emphasis on informal care by friends and family. Formal care plays a vital supporting role however, and enables friends and family care for the person with services such as home help and meals on wheels. Care in the community is quite different. This applies mostly to those with mental or physical disabilities or conditions and usually involves people with similar types of disability living in the same home, with varying degree of intervention by nurses or carers depending on the severity of the disability. This care differs from the old style institutional care because where the units are smaller the individual should ideally be able to live a more normal lifestyle. Each resident should be allowed some choice over their actions and schedules and the integration into the surrounding community is encouraged.
The government has a great deal of control over communities and it is important to understand that today they are often active creations. In the 20th century many attempts have been made to construct communities and today the type of community found in different areas is greatly influenced by social policy, legislation and the allocation of funds carried out through central and local governments. In the 1940s New Towns such as Milton Keynes were built to relieve the pressure on older urban locations which were fastly becoming congested and overcrowded. Politicians and planners worked together to try and create the community spirit they saw as being so desirable. Part of their thinking was to achieve a social balance as they saw single class settlements as socially undesirable and politically dangerous, they attempted to do this by accommodating social groups roughly in proportions according to the national average and provided a variety of housing types, sizes and tenures. The town would provide a wide range of jobs and would not be dependent on one industry.
The objective of the new towns were for them to become a microcosm of contemporary British society (Aldridge 1979). The success of this varied between places although in general the governments utopian ideal was slightly unrealistic. The people who moved to the new towns were typically middle class, and skilled manual workers were over represented nearly everywhere. The age range of people was also quite limited because most of the migrants were young families. More importantly Deakin and Ungersons study of migration out of London to New Towns showed migrants were drawn from areas and social groups not predominantly in greatest need therefore the majority of those living in the inner city areas the New Towns were designed to relive were still there. The selective pattern of migration could even be seen as worsening the problem of inner city areas by concentrating further the disadvantaged groups there. Extreme deprivation is a problem that faces many places in Britain.
Often in inner city areas but not always it is seen in districts or neighbourhoods where people are not getting the same chances in life due to a range of social problems. Unemployment, crime, poor housing and living conditions, single parents, vandalism, hooliganism and racial harassment all create a poor standard of life in which people are trapped. New Labours idea as to how to regenerate neighbourhoods that are deprived in this way is the Social Exclusion Unit. Set up in 1997 and based in Downing Street, its aim was to improve peoples standard of life and to give everyone equal chances in life. The National Strategy for Neighbourhood Renewal. Is an attempt by the New Labour government to develop integrated and sustainable approaches to the problems of the worst housing estates, including crime, drugs, unemployment, community breakdown and bad schools. The idea of the unit is not to provide easy solutions for the short term, but to target the grass roots of the problem, helping people to help themselves.
This idea is typically New Labour, a point somewhere between the value systems adhered to by the New right and the Old Left. In the booklet A National Strategy for neighbourhood Renewal : a framework for consultation produced by the government it has proposals as to how to revive communities in deprived areas. The first notion is to help residents to tackle problems that threaten to undermine the community by taking a hard line on anti social behaviour, using neighbourhood warden schemes (community policing) to reduce crime and fear and by improving housing letting policies. The second aim is to stimulate community activity, presumably to attempt to unite people and bring back some of the community spirit found in occupational communities. This will happen through encouraging more meeting places and opportunities perhaps with facilities and shops, and by premoting arts and sports in deprived areas.
Thirdly its aim is to get the residents themselves involved in turning around their neighbourhoods by making it easier for community and voluntary organisations to get funding and attempt to build on what they call community capacity and leadership. The units work falls under 3 main categories. Funding regeneration programs in deprived neighbourhoods, Giving New Deals to the unemployed, lone parents and the disabled, and ensuring coherence and a government united on the issues. 18 policy action teams were formed who were each assigned to different areas and projects. Their work fell under 5 broad themes.
Getting people to work, getting the area to work, building a future for young people, ensuring everyone has access to public services and making the government work better. Community usually tends to be used as a warmly persuasive word and nearly always in a favourable context. It is frequently championed as a source of identity, moral and social stability, shared meaning and mutual connotations, yet by nature it can also be seen to have forceful negative connotations. The first is a threat to identity. Plant et al 1980 and Nisbit 1967 saw the concept of community as a morally charged instrument of authority justifying state intervention in everyday life.
wiener 1981 and colls and dodd in 86 stated: Romantic and nostalgic thinking has often resorted to the invocation of a lost stable social hierarchy of community in order to justify socially repressive policies Because community is seen as something static it poses limits on identity controlled by tradition and passively accepted local culture. Even as a source of class based and anti establishment strength community can be seen as subordinating the individual for the sake of communal solidarity. So secondly community can be seen as a vehicle for the reproduction and perpetuation of traditional gendered social roles, -the nuclear family and the subsidiary role of women in a male dominated society. Good or bad, the idea of community is about the interaction between people, and it is important because it effects the way people think about themselves and produces their personal identity. Community is still a relevant notion in the 21st century although it is important to look past geographical boundaries and locality and instead see community in the broader sense of social networks. While it is clear that community is an integral part of human nature, its future and what shape it will take is yet to be seen.
Bibliography: Wayne K.D.Davies, David T Herbert (1993) communities within cities, Belhaven press Graham Crow, Grahem Allan (1994) Community life, Harvester Wheatsheaf Marjorie Mayo (1994) Communities and caring-The mixed economy of welfare, Macmillan press Michael Keith, Steve pile (1993) Place and the politics of identity, Routledge Andy Furlong, Fred Cartmel (1997) Young people and social change, Open University press National Strategy for Neighbourhood Renewal:a framework for consultation (March 2000) New Labour Social Issues Essays.