The Scottish Government, in partnership with COSLA and the ASCC have developed 5 pilot projects involving Community Councils, focussing on budget management, elections and asset management.
These pilots support the Government's overall community empowerment agenda, and aim to demonstrate how Community Councils can succesfully operate as key participants in local decision-making and delivery, as well as looking at the challenges and barriers Community Councils face.
Arran Community Council
Arran Community Council, North Ayrshire Council, was awarded a one-off grant of £15,000 to spend as it saw fit for the benefit of the community.
The Community Council consulted widely with the residents of Arran on how best the money could be used to really benefit the community. After consideration of a number of options, they decided to use the grant to work in partnership with Arran Sports Association to replace/rejuvenate the all weather playing field at the Ormidale Sports Complex in Brodick.
The pitch is constantly used, especially in the winter, but is worn out and at the end of its usable life. Helping the Sports Association in this way frees up resources to enable it to undertake required routine maintenance to other parts of the complex. Without the Community Council's support, the Sports Association had estimated it would have taken them a further 4 years at least to be in a position financially to replace the all weather playing surface.
It is anticipated that this project to rejuvenate the all-weather pitch will be complete in 2012.
Langside Battlefield and Camphill Community Council
Langside, Battlefield and Camphill Community Council, Glasgow City Council, were awarded a one-off grant of £15,000 to spend as it saw fit for the benefit of their community .
In consultation with Glasgow City Council's Community Council Resource Centre, it was agreed that one Community Council would be identified to take the lead collaborative roll, together with several other neighbouring Community Councils, in the development of a recreational facility in Queens Park on the south side of the city.
Queens Park covers an area of 45 hectares with 4 Community Council areas lying within or within close proximity of its boundaries, all of whom have an interest in the facilities of the whole park. There is currently an open air performance area situated within the park which is in need of renovation and modernisation. It was agreed that the lead Community Council, to whom the grant was paid, be Langside, Battlefield and Camphill.
Langside, Battlefield and Camphill worked closely with their neighbouring Community Councils all of whom have an interest in terms of Community Council boundaries and proximity to Queens Park. The Community Councils involved in this project undertook an extensive survey and several community consultation and engagement events to clearly establish and demonstrate that this was a project fully supported by the community and a wide range of other stakeholders.
They agreed plans to convert the derelict Queen's Park Bandstand site into an amenity to be renamed the Queen's Park Arena. It is anticipated that this will be used by dance, folk, jazz and theatre performers amongst others and will significantly boost the existing Southside Festival.
A company limited by guarantee with charitable status was established (Queens Park Arena Limited (QPA Ltd)) to take forward the work identified and achieved at the pilot stage of this project.
More details on this pilot can be found at the following website: www.qppp.org.uk
Moray Community Councils
In 2009 Community Councils in the Moray area undertook a pilot where the focus was on the electoral process. The pilot was to look at how, when given control of budget (£500 per participating Community Council), a Community Council chose to spend it to promote becoming a Community Councillor.
This was to see if given contol of budget for this purpose, interest could be generated among members of the public in becoming a Community Councillor, which may in turn result in contested Community Council elections.
An evaluation of this pilot will be undertaken in conjunction with the Community Council election pilot in East Ayrshire once completed.
East Ayrshire Community Councils
East Ayrshire Council are taking forward a pilot project, where the local authority, rather than the Community Councils, will promote becoming a Community Councillor. The local authority has been awarded funding (equating to £500 per Community Council in their local authority area).
East Ayrshire are undertaking their Community Council elections on a rolling basis. Evaluation of this pilot will take place following the full completion of the Community Council elections and evaluated in conjunction with the Moray Council pilot.
Braehead & District Community Council
Braehead & District Community Council, Stirling, was awarded a one-off grant of £15,000, to enable it identify, plan and manage a local authority owned asset for the benefit of its community.
In consultation with Stirling Council, Braehead & District Community Council identified an area of land which it proposes to lease and develop into a community allotment garden. The pilot will demonstrate local management and decision making whilst interacting with the wider community and the local authority.
This project is still in progress.