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Park communities in big learning day

10th March 2010

Nine communities from all corners of the Cairngorms National Park are getting together this weekend (Saturday 13 March) to share their experiences – good and bad – of community action planning in their area.

The community action planning process involves gathering data and information on social and economic issues and organising community consultation activities. The information is then analysed and community feedback obtained allowing for each communities’ priorities for action to be identified. Individual action plans can then be prepared for each individual community, with help from the public sector to take these proposals forward.

The Cairngorms National Park Authority (CNPA) has been helping communities steer their way through the Community Action Planning process and nine have now completed their community planning journey. ‘Our Community a Way Forward’ covered the communities of Advie, Cromdale, Dalwhinnie, Dulnain Bridge, Grantown-on-Spey, Kingussie, Laggan and Newtonmore in the west of the Park, while Ballater One Voice Our Future (BOVOF) helped that community to formulate its action plan and subsequent follow up of priorities.

Claire Ross, the CNPA’s Education and Social Inclusion Manager said: “This Saturday’s event will bring together the nine communities in the Cairngorms who have gone through the process to date. They will be able to share experiences, learn from each other’s successes – and mistakes! It truly will be a day of learning for them, but also for the public sector bodies like us and the local authorities who are committed to helping these communities realise their aspirations.”

Eric Baird, CNPA board member said: “Community Action Planning has been a really valuable experience for all those involved. We have seen some common themes come out as a result of the action planning such as: integrated and improved transport links for work and leisure purposes, better communication within communities, and the repair and use of village halls/community buildings. Today is also a great opportunity for these communities from opposite sides of the hill to get together to discuss opportunities and how to tackle shared problems or issues.”

Gordon Riddler, Chairman of Ballater (RD) Ltd, co-ordinator of the BOVOF project said: “We have learnt a lot from this process, the ground work has now been done and we are willing to pass on our experiences to other community groups who will be going through the same process as us shortly. One of the focuses of the day will be the development of an online community planning toolkit where people can access information, advice and practical support.”