Sister Sites

Who Owns Scotland?

Caledonia Land Programme

Social Land Ownership

Commonweal Papers

Land Reform Act Part 2 Guidance

Training of Trainers

Networks of Agents

Land reform briefings


Why and How?

Several community-led groups form an association to coordinate their activities. They employ a suitable, local person as coordinator to form networks and accumulate knowledge and skills which are passed on so that the groups become systematic and effective in everything they do.
An impossible dream? Maybe not - the following article is taken from the website of a locally owned information, training and support organisation in the North East of Scotland. The organisation has been around for several years  and the members recognise themselves in the article.

Community-Led Organisations - the why and the how
Comments on the above paper
UPDATE Aug 2000 - Community-led enterprise - setting the wheel in motion

Community-led Organisations – the why and the how

A concept paper to facilitate the PDL revisioning process.

bulletFive stages in the development of a community-led organisation
bulletThe Five Stage Process
bulletInformation, training and support - the changing spectrum
bulletfrom dim awareness to shared vision
bulletfrom shared vision to business plan
bulletfrom business plan to early intervention
bulletfrom early implementation to self sustainability
bulletProfessional staff - the changing requirements

Community-led organisations develop through a series of stages as shown below. In this paper we look at how the needs for information, training and support change with the stages and at how the needs can be met.

Five stages in the development of a Community-led Organisation:

Dim Awareness

Shared Vision

Business Plan

Early Implementation

Self Sustaining

The Five-Stage Process

Most community-led initiatives begin as a dim awareness on the part of an individual, or a small group of individuals, that things could and should be different.

This dim awareness is brought into sharper focus and more people become involved so that a widely shared vision of a different future develops. This is the ‘what needs to be done’ stage.

The group then figures out ‘how it is to be done’. A strategy is developed and widely accepted and is transformed into a specific and focused business plan which demonstrates that the group and the project is ‘fit to fund’.

It is easy to find funds to support well designed projects so the next step involves putting the plan into action. At this early implementation stage people recognise the many types of knowledge and skill that are needed to run the organisation which the project has become. Having been identified and acknowledged, training needs are easily met.

Thus, eventually, the community group is a team of individuals who between them have the knowledge and skills to maintain the initiative which brought them together in the first place and, more importantly, to develop it in whichever direction the community chooses.

Information, Training and Support – the changing spectrum

It is not impossible that the five stage process should happen spontaneously but it is uncommon. Especially in the beginning, the process will be driven by volunteers who may have no experience of getting other people involved and excited; nor of how to design and run projects. It can help, therefore, to have information, training and support provided from outside to meet the needs at different stages of the emerging process.

From Dim Awareness to Shared Vision

The first individuals will be concerned about a particular issue. They can be helped to find out more about the issue locally, and from further afield where others might have been down the same road before.

They can also be helped to pull all the information together and to find methods of involving other people in the process. Thus the vision for the future will become clear and will be widely understood and shared.

From Shared Vision to Business Plan

At the early stages the shared vision may be thought of as an ‘impossible dream’ so the next task is to figure out ‘how to make the dream come true’. This involves a level of systematic and detailed thinking which is new to most people; but the process is well established and easily learned.

At this stage the process may be captured by a clique. This should not be allowed to happen. It takes time to move from the beginning of the business planning exercise through to having the funds arrive in the bank. The people who might be involved or who might eventually benefit must therefore be kept informed and involved so that the ‘shared’ quality of the initiative is not lost. There are established ways of doing this are they are easily learned.

From Business Plan to Early Intervention

Preparing the Business Plan involved much discussion but the time comes to stop talking and act. Volunteers are faced with challenges for which they may not have the knowledge and skills to cope – the finer points of budgeting, record keeping, book keeping and accounting; the administrative tasks of dealing with correspondence and developing filing systems; the need to attend meetings which require agendas and minutes; and there will be reports to write. It is possible to blunder through but a little bit of training can remove a lot of worry, stress and inefficiency.

There is also the human side to being organised. Organisations are designed to suit the jobs they have to do and the people who work in them. Some designs are better than others. Knowledge and skills can be developed to ensure that leadership and management styles make the organisation enjoyable and efficient. This is important because without it commitment fades away and complacency sets in.

From Early Implementation to Self Sustainability

Assuming that the necessary knowledge and skills are developed and that the managerial climate encourages positive attitudes then the community-led organisation will run its projects well and be ready to take on new and bigger challenges. Having hit the mark with the early and smaller projects there will be the appetite for aiming at larger and more ambitious targets.

Professional Staff – the changing requirements

There are not many community-led enterprises at the moment but the potential is enormous. ‘Enterprise’ means business and a business can be owned by communities rather than by individuals. The differences are that more people have a say in what the organisation does, and the profits are ploughed back into the community rather than being used to swell individual pockets.

In the early stages the community-led initiative will be driven by volunteers who might attract the support of community economic development experts from the public or voluntary sectors.

In time the organisation will employ its own part-time staff to help co-ordinate its administration and activities. These part-timers would be encouraged to develop their knowledge and skills so as to be able to provide (or know how to find others to provide) the changing pattern of information, training and support mentioned above.

As the organisation grows the original part-time staff may become full time and new part-time staff may be employed and developed to support them and to take over when they leave or retire

From then on the possibilities are endless. The organisation could own and rent property, it could own and manage shops and industries, it could provide services – it could do almost anything. The organisation could become a major employer in the area – BUT – it would remain community-led and community directed. It would therefore always be acting in the best interests of the community as the community itself defined those interests. This ultimately is the purpose of and justification for the community-led movement.

Acknowledgements: this paper was produced following an energetic discussion with Alison Simpson (PDL’s Community Economic Development Co-ordinator) and John Duncan (of IT-Solutions)

For an UPDATED version of this theory click HERE

Comments on: ‘Community-led Organisations – the why and the how’

The above mentioned paper was presented to a meeting of PDL on 18 October 1999. It has also been distributed to various colleagues via email. Three major sets of comments are listed below.

From Dim Awareness to Shared Vision

It is difficult to establish and maintain a good flow of information in the early stages. The first few steps are the most difficult and the willing few need encouragement to keep going. It gets easier once funding has been secured and there are signs of progress (eg the foundations for the new pavilion are laid) - more people will then be prepared to get involved.

Having an external facilitator helps in the early stages when people still think that they need someone from outside to wipe their collective nose rather than being willing to wipe it for themselves.

Community v Individual Enterprise

It was felt that the paper was unfair to individual enterprise. There are some tasks which lend themselves to community enterprise and some which are more suited to individual enterprise. The differences need to be thought through in some detail but, for example, individuals can easily tackle simple and close focussed tasks (eg many aspects of manufacturing and retailing) while communities are better at spearheading tasks which are more wide ranging and diverse – especially the economic problems emerging in the rural areas of NE Scotland. Communities could, for example, put their heads together to develop strategies and projects to provide services in the rural areas (eg rented accommodation) and to develop new approaches to the co-ordinated development of tourism (eg ‘staged holidays’ with baggage being transported in advance of walkers, cyclists or horse riders.)

There is a low population density in rural areas which means that many enterprises have to be multipurpose to survive. An example would be a village shop which could also serve as the Post Office, an internet access point, café, drop-in centre etc. This could be owned and managed by the community but operated by a mixture of full-time, part-time and volunteer staff. Fund raising events could be organised to support desirable services (eg child care) during periods when there were not enough customers to make them financially self supporting.

History of Community Enterprise in Scotland

[These comments come from Graham Boyd (Caledonia Centre for Social Development) who is now living in Tanzania.]

In Scotland there is a long tradition of village and municipal enterprise for the common good. Townships, villages, burghs and the large cities have for centuries owned, leased and managed common pool resources for the benefit of local residents and for amenity purposes.

" As late as 1800 there were great common properties extant; many burghs, towns and villages owned lands and mosses; Forres engaged in municipal timber growing; Fortrose owned claypits; Glasgow owned quarries and coalfields; Hamilton owned a coalpit; Irvine had mills, farms and a loom shop"

Source: T Johnson, 'A History of the Working Classes in Scotland', Forward Publishing Company, Glasgow 1920, p389

A very old community enterprise is the Dornoch Mussel Fisheries. The burgh of Tain was granted a royal license to operate the fisheries in the 1600's (by King David 1 ???). It was operated by Tain Burgh Council  until the re-organisation of local government in 1974. It is now operated by the Highland Council with all surpluses going to the Tain Common Good Fund. Andy Wightman and David Reid have some info on it.




sport blue 3s michael kors outlet retro jordans jordan 6 history of jordan louis vuitton outlet jordan 3 sport blue Lebron 11 louis vuitton outlet jordan 3lab5s jordan retro 11 louis vuitton outlet 3Lab5 Jordans sport blue 14s jordan 6 sport blue kate spade outlet Louis Vuitton Outlet louis vuitton outlet jordan 6 sport blue sport blue 6s coach factory outlet louis vuitton outlet jordan 3lab5 metallic silver beat by dre outlet sport blue 3s sport blue 3s louis vuitton outlet Jordan 5 3Lab5 louis vuitton outlet louis vuitton outlet retro jordans cheap jordans Louis Vuitton Outlet louis vuitton outlet louis vuitton outlet cheap louis vuitton jordan 14 sport blue legend blue 11s louis vuitton outlet louis vuitton outlet sport blue 6s