Innovation Exchange

Community Test Site Project


Key activities

Benefits and impacts


Stirling Council and our Community Planning Partners are committed to working better with our communities to be community led, open and responsive.  Four very different communities throughout Stirling have been chosen as community test site areas.

Through the community test site project we aim to encourage community empowerment, promote social justice and work increasingly collaboratively and innovatively with partners, local businesses, third sector and communities to design, and in some cases deliver, services that meet local need.

The purpose of the community test site project is to:

  • Listen to our communities and support them to be proud, strong, thriving and well-connected places to live and work


  • Empower our communities to become much more involved in shaping and delivering services that meet local need


  • Ensure that we are well placed to respond to the implementation of the new Community Empowerment Act

Challenge traditional service delivery and encourage more collaboration and jointly resourced ways of working together to address the financial challenges that we are facing


Theme: Community Planning and Empowerment

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Initial workshops were held in each of the 4 test sites during 2015.  These workshops brought together key individuals working and living in that community to articulate their priorities and aspirations for their area.  From there, activities have been delivered depending on the priorities identified.  For example:


  • Local leadership forums have been established
  • Community-led regeneration workshops to identify options for a run down Main Street
  • Testing of video conferencing from village halls in very rural settings
  • Development of a rural care hub and befriending model to improve quality of life for elderly residents
  • Running events to connect transient communities
  • Improvements in communication and trust
  • Wider involvement of local community – head teachers, librarians, local employers
  • Challenge to traditional service delivery
  • Greater interest in asset transfer
  • Better collaboration between services and partner organisations
  • Opportunities for local rural businesses to provide more services
  • Each of the test site areas are very different and have different priorities
  • Communication is key to keeping communities involved
  • Community-led decision making is time consuming and requires strong negotiation skills – the building of relationships is key
  • Communities are well aware of budget pressures and there is a genuine willingness to share knowledge and work more collaboratively
  • More work is required to engage people in communities via digital engagement etc.
  • Culture change required in the Council and staff development programme will be rolled out in 2016

Contact details:

To find out more about this case study, please contact:


Gillian Taylor

Neighbourhoods Manager

Stirling Council

01786 233055

Case study added to site: June 2016

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