Nobody understands a community better than those that live there. Community Empowerment is about giving a community the right tools and support needed to help them do more for themselves.
Following the recommendations of The Christie Commission the Scottish Government have produced the Community Empowerment (Scotland) Act to provide community groups with more rights over decision making, service delivery and the management of local assets.
The Bill includes a number of provisions, with the key one’s summarised as:
In November 2014 the first Scottish Rural Parliament met in Oban, with a second event in Brechin in October 2016. The purpose of the rural Parliament is to give a stronger, more coherent voice to Scotland’s rural communities and enable them to engage more effectively with government at all levels. The Rural Parliament is also about empowerment and has the potential to provide a real opportunity for rural communities in Scotland to take greater control of the decisions which affect them.
Social enterprises are essentially community businesses, established in order to deliver a social or environmental benefit for the local community. In order to become financially independent (i.e. not depend on grants to support the organisation) social enterprises will seek to deliver a service, or trade in order to generate income. Profits are used to help the enterprise become financially independent, invest in the growth of the business and deliver the overarching social or environmental goal for the community. Through social enterprise, communities can become increasingly independent and empowered.
The Social Enterprise Academy, with support from the Cairngorms LEADER Programme, is offering a series of fully funded social enterprise training courses across the National Park. More information is available from their website.