A resident-led project to regenerate a Birmingham neighbourhood could be a role model for the entire country, according to a senior cabinet minister.
Hazel Blears, the Secretary of State for Local Government and Communities, highlighted the success of residents in bringing improvements to Perry Common, as she visited the Birmingham suburb yesterday.
She was in the city to announce the next stage in a national initiative to give residents more control over spending in their neighbourhoods.
Councils will be told to fund "community kitties", which will be controlled by committees of local residents.
The Perry Common neighbourhood has been transformed over recent years with the participation of organisations such as Witton Lodge Community Association, which has worked with Birmingham City Council and other partners to take forward the regeneration of the area.
Ms Blears saw Sycamore Court Extra Care Scheme - Witton Lodge's pioneering development of 40 apartments providing independent living for people with special needs. She also met representatives of a number of community organisations before the community switch-on of the Christmas lights. She said: "What has been achieved in Perry Common is a shining light - a beacon for what can be achieved in the rest of the country."
Residents in a further 12 areas of the country would get the chance to access their own "community kitty", Ms Blears announced. For example, the money might be spent on community wardens to tackle anti-social behaviour, new play areas or better transport solutions.
Ten pilots are already underway across the country, including one in Erdington, Birmingham.