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Community Empowerment


Key activities

Benefits and impacts


Our Area Community Planning Groups cover administrative areas that are geographically large and cover a number of communities. Communities are dispersed and include both mainland and island communities, remote rural and urban - therefore communities may not easily identify with other communities or appreciate the wealth of activity from community groups within the same area. It can be difficult for community members and partner agencies from local areas to travel and participate in Area Community Planning Group meetings.

Theme: Community Planning and Empowerment

In order to maximise the opportunity for as many community members to participate and to ease concerns over travel, we vary the location, venue, and timing of our four Area Community Planning Group meetings in a number of different ways:


  • In Oban, Lorn and the Isles, we alternate the time between an evening meeting and an afternoon meeting, with the venue occasionally at the High School to attract young people to attend
  • In Mid Argyll, Kintyre and the Islands, the venue is alternated between Lochgilphead, Campbeltown and Islay – three very separate and distinct areas. We also ensure that Video Conferencing facilities are available
  • In Bute and Cowal, we rotate between Dunoon and Rothesay.
  • In Helensburgh and Lomond the meeting was traditionally always held in Helensburgh and recently the meeting has started touring the area with meetings held in neighbouring rural communities. One meeting held in Arrochar had an excellent turnout by the local community and they were very appreciative of this.


Three out of the four Chairs of our Area Community Planning Groups are also community members with the other being from the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service. Two Vice-Chairs come from the community, one from Third Sector Interface and one is an elected member. The Chairs all attend the CPP Management Committee and raise area-level issues for action where appropriate. This gives a real voice to local matters and a genuine partnership working between local and strategic areas of work in Community Planning.

What helped us to improve community participation?


Engaging with our local communities through creating a variance of meeting locations and empowering community members as chairs of the local Area Community Planning Groups and as part of the CPP Management Committee has ensured that we are maximising the opportunity for  communities to participate in local community planning. In addition, the Community Development Team actively encourage and support community groups to attend local community planning meetings to raise awareness of their activities and seek partnership working for their development and to help overcome challenges.


What were the barriers to improving community participation?


Travel can be inhibitive to attending and participating in local area community planning meetings. We have tried to mitigate this by offering video-conferencing facilities where possible and rotating the location of the meeting around an administrative area.

We are learning that we have to adapt and compromise in order to do what is best for the community rather than what may be an ‘easier fit’ for public sector partners. We are also ensuring that Area Community Planning is community-led as far as possible by having many of the Chairs as community members.

Case study added to site: December 2018

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