Minister for Housing and Communities
Welcome to the Winter 2010 edition of the Community Empowerment Newsletter.
We are currently facing a major challenge balancing the financial challenges that face us, with delivering services to meet the needs of communities across Scotland. The draft Scottish Budget, presented on November 18, highlighted the scale and nature of this challenge.
This Government remains committed to regenerating communities; to supporting communities to build their capacity; and to take on assets, so that they can have the skills, resources and confidence to respond to local issues. We know that this is challenging. It involves breaking down the barriers to participation, disrespecting boundaries and working with communities, to ensure that our common goal - that of improving the lives and sustainability of communities across Scotland - can be achieved.
In our special feature, we celebrate the winners of this year's SURF Awards for Good Practice in Regeneration. They are all shining examples of what can be achieved through community-led action, asset ownership and delivery of services.
In addition, we highlight examples of community empowerment, where innovation, creative thinking and joint working are contributing to the success of two communities in Glasgow.
Community councils have an important role to play in local democracy, representing the views of local people and spearheading initiatives that benefit the areas they serve. The Queen's Park Performance Project is one of five pilot projects in Scotland demonstrating the important role of such councils in local decision-making and delivery of services.
Our second example is Family Action in Rogerfield and Easterhouse, a charity that, together with other local agencies and organisations, provides services that meet the social, emotional and physical needs of local people from all ages and backgrounds.
I hope that the examples of empowered communities highlighted in this newsletter continue to inspire you.
I wish you all the very best this festive season.
Cllr Harry McGuigan
COSLA Spokesperson for Community Well-being and Safety
I'm particularly struck by just how many of the examples of community empowerment in this newsletter accentuate the positive. And that can be very difficult in the current climate - I'm thinking of both snow and recession. But whether it's harnessing the strengths and beauty of the natural environment on the Orkney island of Eday or regenerating the harbour at Tobermory, or whether it's building on community infrastructure - shops and meeting places, cultural spaces, housing and work spaces - it's the hearts, minds, and boundless skills and energy of indviduals working together inter-dependently which make it all happen. My congratulations to all the SURF Award winners.
I'm also delighted to read about the Queen's Park Performance Project as our Community Wellbeing and Safety Executive Group at COSLA have been keenly following the community council pilots. This is an ambitious project which highlights how technical support from, in this case Glasgow City Council, has a multiplier effect in terms of the very significant and long-term outcomes which can then be achieved by community groups.
Wishing you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.