Supporting Community Development
Communities and the people living in them are central to the vibrancy and success of the National Park. Many have an active volunteer network that run trusts and charities for the benefit of the wider community. Additionally the Community Empowerment (Scotland) Act 2015 has increased the opportunities for communities to do more for themselves.
Most communities within the National Park now have their own Development Trust or Community Company. These are essentially community businesses, established in order to deliver a social or environmental benefit for the local community. They often own and run an asset such as a hall, hydro scheme or campsite and must reinvest the profit in the community. Through this social enterprise model, communities can become increasingly independent and empowered.
The National Park Authority works with a number of partners to provide communities with the support they need to achieve more for themselves. This may be for one off projects and events or for longer term aspirations such as developing an income generating asset or community owned housing.
Partner organisations include:
Community Empowerment is about giving a community the right tools and support needed to help them do more for themselves. Every community with The Park has been empowered to develop its own community action plan. These are reviewed and updated on a 5-year cycle.
The Community Empowerment Act has brought in a range of provisions which can be summarised as:
- Community Planning Partnerships (CPP) – additional duties for public bodies to collaborate on service delivery and involve communities to a greater extent
- Community Right-to-Buy – giving communities the right to buy land or property for the benefit of the wider community.
- Asset Transfer Requests – giving some community groups the right to request the transfer of ownership of a public asset to the community group
- Participation Requests – some community groups have the right to request direct involvement in service planning and design. The Participation Requests provision applies to the Cairngorms National Park Authority. If you would like to find out more about how this works, please contact [email protected]
Scottish Rural Parliament
The Scottish Rural Parliament was established in November 2014 with the purpose of giving 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. It meets biannually in different locations around Scotland.