The newly-created Neighbourhood Renewal Unit (NRU), which is to
spend £3bn on alleviating poverty in Britain's most deprived
areas, is putting in place its first communications team.
Consultant Paul Richards has been named as interim head of
communications, the NRU's first PR head since it was formed in
He will remain in place while headhunters at PricewaterhouseCoopers look
to fill the post on a permanent basis.
Richards is tasked with putting together a full communications strategy
and aims to develop public affairs functions and ensure coverage for the
body in regional, national and ethnic media.
He said: 'This body has an enormous task in alleviating poverty. It is
vital that local authorities, strategic partnerships and regeneration
groups as well as the public are aware of the work that is going
The Government estimates that 80 per cent of ethnic minorities live in
areas classed by the Government as socially deprived. Richards said the
ethnic media is of special significance in promoting the NRU's work.
He heads an initial team of four, reporting to the unit's
director-general Joe Montgomery and handling a £1m communications
The unit was formed following a review by the Government's social
exclusion unit, which was created in 1997 to find ways to tackle
Eighty-eight neighbourhoods have been highlighted for funding in the
The NRU handles a raft of funding schemes, including the New Deal for
This includes £50m to be spent in the Marshfields, West Bowling
and Park Lane areas of Bradford, near to the scenes of rioting last
month (PRWeek, 3 August).