ACT, (Amwell Consultancy & Training Ltd.), are specialists in economic development, European funding, PFI Bids, town centre revitalisation, consultation - including focus groups - facilitation, feasibility studies, business planning, school planning and design (PFI and City Academies).

Economic Development and Regeneration are vitally important to the survival and success of many communities. Many parts of our inner cities are run down and in desperate need of investment. However, this is not just an urban problem, many rural areas as well need investment and regeneration. Significant European assistance has been given in recent years and the Government's Neighbourhood Renewal Programme (NRP) has also been effective.

ACT has experience of working on one of the nine Housing Market Renewal Pathfinders (HMR Pathfinder) in Hull and the East Riding of Yorkshire. Keith Stevens was the Project Manager for the North Hull area and oversaw the compilation of an Area Development Framework (ADF) for North Hull. The Housing Pathfinder is an innovative concept and can bring substantial Central Government monies to areas judged to be in decline and in need of specialist support.

ACT has been involved with a wide range of regeneration projects, often with a cultural/sporting dimension to them. The role of sports and the arts in regeneration is clear to see in many parts of the UK, with, for example, the Lowry in Salford, the Commonwealth Games facilities in Manchester, the sports facilities in Sheffield which were built for the World Student Games and the new arts and cultural facilities in Newcastle and Gateshead. The Olympic in East London will be a major catalyst for inward investment.

ACT has been involved in the development of arts and cultural facilities as part of wider regeneration programmes in both England and Scotland.

ACT can help you with the following range of Consultancy and Training services:
  • Developing local economic strategies and town centre management plans
  • Funding support and guidance
  • Consultations - whether part of the Best Value process or not
  • Drawing up feasibility and business plans
  • Organising Study Tours
  • Capacity building
  • Working with local groups and organisations and developing partnerships

Many of these are outlined further below:

Study Tours
ACT is able to offer a tailored and specialised service for all overseas economic development and regeneration practitioners wishing to visit the UK and see examples of best practice and discuss professional issues with colleagues. This is a perfect opportunity to combine a personal holiday with a professional visit.

ACT would be pleased to co-ordinate your visit so that it coincides with particular events or seminars/conferences in the UK. We could, for example, arrange for you to visit a number of regeneration initiatives, during which you would be able to discuss issues with the staff concerned. We might also be able to include attendance at a relevant seminar or conference during your stay.

Tours can be arranged to a variety of locations throughout the UK and would include examples of both urban and rural regeneration. Tours can be UK wide or be based on a Region or a particular city such as London, Manchester or Liverpool. We would, in particular, be able to discuss public/private sector partnerships with you and show examples of best practice to you.

We would be pleased to accompany you on your visits or else you may prefer to have the arrangements made for you and to visit on your own. We would be delighted to assist you either way. We can also help with accommodation if required to the budget you advise us on.

ACT has access to a wide network of economic development and regeneration initiatives through its Director, Keith Stevens, co-led the economic development strategy for one of the largest of the London Boroughs, which was eventually to lead to Objective 2 status. He is also a Member of the Institution of Economic Development (MIED) and spoke on the National Conference in 1999 on The Role of Sport and Leisure in Regeneration.

Business Planning and Feasibility Studies
An effective business plan is the key tool in the development of any organisation and it is something that needs to be kept continually under review. In addition, no new service or activity should be developed without a comprehensive business plan being devised. In order to inform the process, it is essential that feasibility studies are carried out and ACT is able to assist with this.

ACT can help you with the following range of Consultancy and Training services:
  • Researching and producing feasibility studies and business plans for new services or activities
  • Carrying out business reviews and providing appropriate support
  • Assisting with product development and marketing
  • Providing business plans and feasibility studies to support bids for external funding such as big Lottery and other funding regimes.
Funding Regimes
There is a myriad of funding regimes available and which can be very time consuming to research and prepare bids and there is no guarantee of success. Even if you are successful, there is a significant resource implication in managing and monitoring the bids.

ACT can help you with the following range of Consultancy and Training services:
  • Analysing needs and identifying the most appropriate action programmes
  • Evaluating projects and providing bid guidance and preparation, against the stated criteria
  • Submitting bids with, and on behalf of, the Client organisation to the regime's' guidelines
  • Identifying and building partnerships
  • Providing programme support to the Programme Managers
  • Carrying out policy and programme reviews to identify obstacles to implementation and the options which facilitate service delivery
  • Developing and training staff involved on the programmes.
Recent Clients include:
Essex County Council
South Lanarkshire Council
Hull City Council Pathfinder
Stroud District Council
LB Lambeth
Southampton City Council
Shropshire County Council
Swindon Borough Council
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