People who live in disadvantaged communities are at increased risk of social exclusion through diminished access and quality of services, lack of opportunity and feeling powerless over decisions relating to their neighbourhoods. Neighbourhood Renewal (NR) is a Victorian State Government initiative that seeks to address this. This paper presents the findings from two individual project sites, side-by-side. Data were collected in 2004/5 and 2009 using face-to-face interviewing with convenience samples of 900 NR residents across the two NR sites at each time period. A comparison group for each NR site consisted of a sample of 150 people living in the same suburb or town but outside the NR site, data were collected by telephone. Data were analysed separately for each NR project site. Findings indicate that neighbourhood renewal strategies can be effective in improving trust in government, perceptions of community participation, influence and control over community decisions and improved services. Community level strategies are valuable in addressing area-level determinants to improve social inclusion. The successes of the NR scheme support the implementation and continuation of area-specific interventions to address disadvantage and social exclusion across Victoria, Australia.
Keywords: Neighbourhood renewal, Social inclusion, Social exclusion, Disadvantage, Neighbourhood intervention, Community
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