Learning from URBAN

Townhill was the only URBAN I Community Initiative area in Wales. URBAN ran between the mid-1990s and the end of 2001 and saw £6.3m invested with £2.73m match funding from Swansea Council. The Phoenix Community Enterprise Centre cost £1.3m and aspired to meet community needs and generate and independent income stream thereby reducing dependency on government grants. Altogether 28 projects were delivered by this innovative bottom-up approach. The programme was steered to fruition by independent chairperson Mr Ian Spratling OBE who passed away suddenly following a tragic accident at home on the same day Prime Minister Tony Blair came to Swansea to open the Phoenix.  The cynics thought this was a waste of time and money but here were are over twenty years later and the Phoenix is still flying and continues to be run by the volunteer directors employing 25 local people with no government grants for running costs. High levels of commercial expertise married with strong community engagement are the reasons for the Phoenix's success.