The ‘left behind’ areas of Sandwell – including one neighbouring Rowley Regis - are being targeted for extra help after the council joined a national campaign to create a special fund for struggling communities.

An alliance of nearly 400 organisations has called for a Community Wealth Fund with a starting pot of £900m to be created to provide significant investment for areas most in need.

Sandwell Metroplitan Borough Council has now joined the scheme, with a view to helping to tackle struggling communities like Langley, next door to Rowley Regis.

Money would be pumped into ‘left behind’ areas over ten to 15 years to ensure a long-term solutions and to ‘level up’.

The alliance currently has support from 30 councils across the country after Sandwell signed up.

They say: “The Community Wealth Fund would take a radically different approach to most funding bodies, with communities at a neighbourhood level supported to take spending decisions.

“The Alliance is calling on government to make the proposal a reality by releasing the next wave of dormant, or orphaned, assets from stocks, shares, bonds, insurance and pension policies to create an endowment. Close to £900m is likely to be available initially.

Research has identified the 225 most deprived communities in the country, often lacking places for people to meet, community activities and with low levels of digital connectivity and poor local transport. They fare socially and economically than neighbourhoods that are similarly deprived but which have such provision.

An All-Party Parliamentary Group and the Community Wealth Fund Alliance are urging Government to adopt the proposal to achieve its objective to ‘level up’.

Councillor Maria Crompton said: “The council has consistently campaigned for funding and support for our regeneration initiatives, and I am always keen to foster alliances that will benefit our people here in Sandwell. “