Future Support and Advice to Rural Communities - Research Findings

This report explores the nature and level of existing support and advice available to rural communities in Scotland.


There are roles that are best carried out at the national scale and others that are best carried out locally. We recommend that these national and local components should form an integrated approach which ensures that the information and advice offered is accessible, accurate and of a consistently high quality.

At the national level, action should focus on supporting front line staff who are providing advice locally and by ensuring easy local access. There should be a number of aspects to this:

  • The Scottish Government should encourage and support the development of a strong partnership approach to the promotion of advice and information on funding in each Local Authority area which takes into account local profile and resources.
  • There is a key role to be played at the national level in improving and ensuring the quality of local advice provision through these local partnerships. We recommend that a national quality standard for advisory staff should be developed and implemented by the Scottish Government.
  • There should be a single, national, high quality source of information on available sources of funding for advisors and rural community groups. We therefore recommend that steps should be taken to ensure that the SCVO Funding Scotland resource is suitably usable and sufficiently well-maintained for rural community groups.
  • A key source of support should involve promoting learning by sharing good practice amongst local advice providers, both in terms of funding advice and in terms of community group success stories - e.g. how and why community groups were able to achieve funding through access to high quality funding advice. We recommend that this should be spread through existing networks.
  • Working with funders (e.g. public funders) to understand the scope that exists for improving the way that their systems of application and claims processes are managed, with a view to better ensuring that the complexity of funding requirements are truly proportionate to the scale of funding requested and are not stifling the entrepreneurship of rural community groups seeking to improve their communities.

At the local level, action should focus on supporting front line staff who are providing advice locally and by ensuring easy local access. There should be a number of aspects to this:

  • Third Sector Interfaces should work with Local Authorities and other locally established sources of information and advice to develop locally coherent approaches to the promotion and provision of advice and information on rural funding.
  • The form of provision should involve quick tips and advice / signposting and specialist advice, and also the provision of intensive support for those groups who need it, especially community groups who are at an "early stage" of development.
  • The local partnerships will need to ensure a consistently high quality of adviser support and should work closely with national support to implement, maintain and build on a national standard for staff providing advice. In each Local Authority area this should involve all those staff who provide information and advice to rural groups.
  • The service should develop a strong focus on peer mentoring from other community group members who have "been there and done it". This will be required to provide the local capacity to provide intensive one to one support for those that need it.


Email: Liz Hawkins

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