A £55 million regeneration initiative fighting social deprivation in inner city Birmingham is appealing for volunteers to join its management board.

The Aston Pride New Deal for Communities organisation wants people who live locally to get involved in delivering the remainder of a 10-year improvement programme, which is due to end in 2011.

Working alongside councillors, representatives from other public bodies and an independent chairman, community board members will play a key role in decision making.

Simon Topman, the chairman of Aston Pride NDC, said that by recruiting members directly from the community it would be possible to widen the skills, local knowledge and experience base on the board as well as provide development opportunities for local people.

Mr Topman added: "I strongly urge local people to consider applying for these vacancies.

"Your involvement could make all the difference to the final outcome of this far reaching programme - you don't need to be a high flyer or a great public speaker to serve on the board - just a have passion for Aston, a passion for change and the commitment to see revolutionary ideas take shape".

Launched in 2001, Aston Pride is a partnership between the council, police, fire service, NHS, community groups and the business community. It is seeking to change the structure of its 21-strong board to make sure that 11 members are community representatives.

Then organisation aims to stimulate major regeneration of the Aston area by making improvements in six key themes; community safety, community leadership, health, employment and business, education and housing and environment.

During the first three years of its life Aston Pride was heavily criticised by the Government for failing to meet delivery targets. But the appointment of a new board put the programme back on course.

Anyone over the age of 18 who lives in the Aston Pride area is entitled to apply for a community position on the board.

Drop-in sessions providing advice to potential candidates will be held at the Aston Pride office from Tuesday to Friday, with applications closing on October 5.

Anyone wishing to find out more information should contact Aston Pride on 0121 303 5671.