Trust in the abilities and potential of the Scottish people lies at the core of this Government's philosophy. Our approach to Governing Scotland is underpinned by the belief that the people of this country can, and should, take increased responsibility for the issues that affect our nation. It is through our own people's efforts that we will achieve our shared single purpose of increased sustainable economic growth that will benefit all of Scotland.
It should be no surprise then that we are setting out in this Action Plan our commitment to community empowerment: the process that brings people together from across communities to deliver real and lasting change.
Ensuring we all make the most of the collective talents, creativity and determination of our people is never more important than during tough economic times. By working together our communities become more resilient and confident. These are key qualities in meeting the challenges we all face, and in taking new opportunities as they emerge.
Community Empowerment is a shared enterprise and I am delighted that this plan is being launched jointly with COSLA: another tangible example of the mature and trusting relationship that has developed between National and local Government in Scotland. I am also delighted that the third sector and communities themselves played such a strong role in shaping the plan. As a Government we were determined from the outset that we must listen and respect people's views on what community empowerment meant to them, and how it can be supported. This plan is built on the foundations of what we heard from people from across Scotland.
We are not starting from scratch when it comes to communities doing things for themselves. As a nation, we have a long and proud tradition of people using their energy and talent to make a difference for their fellow Scots. We celebrate here only a few of the hundreds of examples of empowerment that already exist in Scotland, and I congratulate everyone involved in each of them and look forward to hearing about other inspiring stories over the coming years.
The launch of this plan is not an end in itself. Like the process of community empowerment, it has no fixed destination. We are starting on another phase of an exciting journey in Scotland. At times we will no doubt face challenges in seeing more communities becoming more empowered. But, as a Government we don't shy away from challenges, and we are determined to work with all our partners to meet and overcome whatever obstacles appear on the journey.
Alex Neil, MSP, Minister for Housing and Communities