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Durham University

Policy, Professions and Communities Research Group


Publication details for Professor Sarah Banks

Armstrong, Andrea & Banks, Sarah (2017). Organizing for change: North Tyneside Community Development Project and its legacy. Community Development Journal 52(2): 290-312.

Author(s) from Durham


This article critically reviews the North Tyneside Community Development Project (CDP), which ran from 1972 to 1978 as part of a British anti-poverty experiment in twelve economically deprived areas. We draw on research undertaken by Imagine North East during 2013–2016, summarizing the CDP's work on industry/employment and housing, and discussing its distinctive features including: its ideology of ‘radical reformism’; action-research on gender issues; pioneering work on play and youth; and published accounts of the process of local organizing and campaigning. We assess the project's legacies, including a six-volume final report, and enduring organizations and networks down to the present day. Despite subsequent regeneration initiatives, the former CDP area is the most deprived in the Borough, thus confirming the CDP's structural analysis of disadvantage and more recent critiques of area-based regeneration. In concluding, we examine the self-critical reflection in the final report that during its life, the CDP team struggled to balance local community work and wider structural issues affecting the industrial working class nationally and globally. We compare this with the struggle today for many local community organizations, which face being co-opted as welfare agencies dealing with individual crises in a climate of economic austerity and neo-liberal politics.