One of the pillars of public service reform is a greater focus on ‘place’ to drive better partnership, collaboration and local delivery. With that in mind, The Crescent is about integrating services to tackle social and health inequalities in one of Scotland’s most deprived housing estates, in a way which also supports the physical regeneration of the estate and engages with local people. Aims include improved social and health outcomes for people in Whitfield, and an increase in public and private sector house building activity to continue the regeneration of the area.
The Council’s Whitfield Regeneration Framework identified a need to replace community facilities in a central location, and in a better form, as part of the physical regeneration of the estate. From a service delivery point of view, the Council was also looking at ways to jointly resource and integrate its services with those delivered by healthcare providers. NHS Tayside supported this integration agenda and recognised the opportunity to tackle Whitfield’s health inequalities and related issues, including the viability of the GP surgery and pharmacy and the lack of clinical and group meeting space within Whitfield. Developing a new building also provided an opportunity to tackle issues of anti-social behaviour associated with community buildings, the shopping area and pharmacy.
Another priority, identified through our local community planning process, was to increase residents’ influence in the regeneration and the development of facilities in Whitfield.
The Crescent achieves all of these objectives by placing, at the heart of the physical and social regeneration of Whitfield, a building which brings together community, health and social care services under one roof, giving ‘one stop’ access to ‘life’ services for the public while also promoting joint working between staff from a range of departments and partner organisations with a focus on prevention and early intervention. The Crescent also provides community facilities such as shops, a café and a library, making it a real ‘hub’ for the estate and a catalyst for further development.
The project was developed through effective partnership and engagement between Dundee City Council, NHS Tayside (Dundee Community Health Partnership), the Whitfield Development Group which represents local residents and the resident-led management group of the Whitfield Community Centre.
In developing the building, the partners listened carefully to residents as part of the planning process. Draft plans were shared with the community and a great effort was made to ensure that the design of the external and internal areas fitted with the wishes and expectations of the local community. Room sizes, landscaping and colour schemes were all consulted on. The community was involved throughout the building phase through successful initiatives like the highly creative public art project, which enhances the focus and local character of the site. A hand-over event at The Crescent in March 2014 connected local residents and stakeholders to the new building by returning the artworks to the community who co-designed them.
The result is a unique community building, located in the heart of Whitfield. The Crescent comprises a double fronted, two-storey building with a central foyer. From here the public can access all services and also the plaza which extends across the new ‘High Street’ to link The Crescent with the new Ballumbie Primary School. The plaza is a landscaped outdoor space where the community can sit, meet or host events such as outdoor performances, fairs or markets.
The ground floor contains a large entrance foyer, a locally-run café, a library, shared use community and NHS rooms and retail units. Boots Pharmacy occupies one of the retail units and a small supermarket will occupy another. The upper floor contains a GP surgery, clinic and consultation rooms, social work rooms, activity areas and open plan office accommodation shared by staff from Dundee City Council (Communities and Children and Families services) NHS Tayside and Dundee Health and Social Care Partnership. For health, The Crescent provides an opportunity to deliver services which do not need highly specialised clinical settings in a much more user/family/child friendly environment, and to try out ‘tests of change’.