Grab the regeneration lifeline
Gordon Carey of Carey Jones Architects describes how working with the UK’s leading Regeneration Trade Association can help you nurture stronger links across the Public Sector and beyond
As well as being the Chairman of Carey Jones Architects I am also the Vice Chairman of the British Urban Regeneration Association (BURA). BURA is the only organisation that represents the whole regeneration sector. Independent, impartial and informative, BURA is a meeting place for anybody or any organisation that wants to play a serious part in regenerating our communities. I became significantly involved in BURA about four years ago, as I passionately believe in the importance of regeneration and how dynamic collaboration between the public, private and voluntary sectors can bring new, exciting and transformational change to life in our towns and cities.
Whilst we are of course, going through some very “challenging” times, this means BURA’s role in our industry is as important as ever. Indeed it is enjoying its own renaissance with a significantly refreshed Board, Executive team and a host of new ideas and initiatives. At the time of writing there are 569 members and in order to further share ideas, best practice and to continue to influence both Central and Local Government policy in the future it is vital that we in the private sector get involved, make our case and of course nurture the business opportunities that result from working outside our normal comfort zones.
This is a timely rejuvenation for BURA. It is in times likes these that organisations that present cost effective business development opportunities come into their own. By “connecting” us with our counterparts in the public sector and staying on top of trends and requirements, it gives us one more chance to learn about that vital deal, contract or tender that can keep the wheels turning! Becoming an active member is like making a long term investment, you can be sure it will pay off eventually. If an opportunity doesn’t present itself immediately, the access to senior Government and NGO executives in open and honest networking environments can only improve our understanding and bidding and presentation skills.
When I am asked to sign up Carey Jones to a membership association in the development sector I ask myself the following questions:
• Is it cost-effective and user-friendly?
• Will it raises the profile of the company and the team across the industry?
• Does it offer significant savings when booking onto events?
• Will it provide high level networking opportunities for my team with real decision makers?
• Does it offer access to new ways of training the team? Offer recognition through acclaimed and impartial awards schemes?
• Enable us to engage with strong regional chapters?
What I discovered with BURA and why this is important:
• BURA breaks down the perceived barriers between the private, public and voluntary sectors; BURA facilitates more contact across the sector than any other trade body – it ensures people avoid getting “stuck in a corner”.
• Given that the economy is likely to get even tougher it will be even more difficult to get projects under way. Through BURA your understanding of the public sector will increase. This will give you more insight into securing financial support for projects or access to alternative development opportunities funded through the public purse. BURA can help you navigate the many organisations who are there to work with you, including regional development agencies, local authorities and, of course, Whitehall.
• More rigorous planning obligations are here to stay regardless of the financial climate – BURA has developed real-world networking and learning links across what have been previously referred to as battle lines; it is in a position to show the private sector the importance of understanding community concerns, how to work with them and to gain real commercial advantage through effective negotiation and collaboration.
• Through its learning and skills programmes BURA offers teams the chance to learn the language and motivations of the regeneration sector; it facilitates up-skilling of teams and get them connected into their own new networks.
• Sharing Best Practice helps projects keep moving ahead more smoothly and effectively with the obvious advantages that projects become “real”.
• Having such a diverse membership that encourages debate really does help in honing ones skills in clear communication that is understood by all, thus avoiding confusion.
To sum it up, I get on the inside track by being part of BURA. Becoming a member enables me access to information, ideas and people that create business and help my organisation do better business for clients.
Commitment to best practice
The identification and dissemination of Best Practice has been at the heart of BURA’s activities since its inception in 1990. To identify effective and innovative practices used across the UK BURA runs two annual award schemes:
• BURA Awards for Best Practice in Regeneration
• BURA Awards for Community Inspired Regeneration
To ensure the awards identify projects and schemes that represent current Best Practice, BURA has developed a rigorous three-stage assessment process and appointed independent Assessment Panels comprising over 20 specialists for each of these awards.
The value of best practice
‘It was a real pleasure to receive the BURA Award for Fort Dunlop. It was particularly refreshing to see that BURA have resisted other trends and only give out five awards on the night. The vigorous judging process is taken very seriously by BURA and this made it all the more pleasing to receive this award’
Nathan Cornish, Urban Splash
BURA’s Best Practice winners have been selected because of the innovative approaches they have taken to respond to the current challenges facing regeneration practice. BURA’s Best Practice programme offers an opportunity to build upon the considerable success of a sector that is continually developing and adapting to new circumstances. As the sector changes it is important to understand what makes successful regeneration and how lessons learnt from current success stories can be passed on to subsequent project teams.
New, practical approaches accelerate learning as they are transferred across the regeneration sector. Disseminating these lessons benefits students and practitioners of regeneration at ground level and is already being implemented through BURA’s highly successful training programme, itself inspired by the sharing potential of Best Practice. These practical lessons have had, and will continue to have, a positive impact on regeneration being delivered today.
The value of working with BURA
It’s worth highlighting that being a non-core funded trade association BURA is able to operate more independently than any other regeneration body, publisher or think-tank. Cost effective business development opportunities and value for money are high on the agenda for the private sector at any time, more so than ever when we are dealing with an economic downturn.
Whilst BURA can offer no guarantees, (they can’t do the deal for you of course!), they can put you ‘in the room’ with the key public sector decision makers who it is vital you make direct contact with.
To discover how BURA can make this happen contact the Membership Team on 020 7539 4030 or visit www.bura.org.uk today.
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