Throughout the Community Empowerment Action Plan (CEAP), both the Scottish Government and the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (COSLA), give a strong commitment to enabling communities to participate fully in the events and affairs which affect the community in which they live.
There are many different ways in which communities can become empowered; community ownership of assets (land and buildings) is one method that can contribute.
Asset ownership won't be the answer for all communities, as much will depend on local circumstances, but when it is appropriate, a range of benefits can be realised.
In 2009, the Scottish Government funded the Development Trust Association Scotland (DTAS) for two years to carry out a programme of work supporting communities to own assets.
The first part of this work, Public Asset Transfer: Empowering Communities, which looks at current practice across Scotland in relation to asset transfer, is now available.
Eight demonstration projects have been identified and meetings have taken place to establish how they will go forward.
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In March 2011 Mr Neil, Minister for Housing and Communities, spoke at one of the last seminars in the series highlighting emerging findings from this programme of work. The most striking of which was the need for further guidance and support, not only for community groups who wish to acquire assets but also for local authorities who may wish to transfer an asset into community ownership. A full report from the two-year programme will be available here from May 2011.
New community ownership guidance and support service
The Scottish Government has announced £300,000 of grant funding in 2011-12 to enable the Development Trusts Association Scotland to set up a community ownership guidance and support service.
The new service will offer information, advice, resources and practical support around asset transfer/acquisition activity, with the objective of increasing the level of sustainable asset transfer activity taking place in Scotland.
As we experience a growing and widening interest in community-led regeneration, the availability of information and support on community asset ownership, has the prospect of becoming an ever important element of sustainable regeneration activity.
Further information on how to access the new service will soon be available on the DTAS website.