Inspection discovers hidden gems
Education Scotland, in partnership with Development Trusts Association Scotland (DTAS), has released the reports of a ground breaking pilot study which sought to explore the impact that development trusts1 have upon their communities.
The reports, which are available to read and download from the Education Scotland website, are the first of their kind and the first time that the impact of development trusts in Scotland has been measured in this way
Sampling three very different trusts: Inverclyde Community Development Trust; Mull and Iona Community Trust and; Huntly and District Development Trust, the positive reviews highlight both the individual strengths of each of the grass-root organisations, as well as specific merits that all three have in common.
Most significant of which is the recognition that development trusts have a positive impact on the lives of the community in which they operate and that each makes a strong contribution to the local economy alongside a significant contribution to the place-making agenda.
Other common strengths highlighted across the three studies include:
• Strong, competent and effective boards
• Established track records of partnership working
• A ‘can do’ approach
Commenting on the publication of the reports, director of DTA Scotland Ian Cooke commented:
“DTAS was delighted to work with Education Scotland on this pilot study to identify and measure the impact of development trusts, the results of which have been extremely positive. Sampling three very different DTAS members, the independent study confirmed our own experience of the positive and multi-faceted impact which development trusts have on the lives of the people within the communities in which they operate. We were particularly pleased to see evidence of the, strong contribution which the development trusts in question made to local economies, and to the Scottish Government’s ‘place-making’ agenda.
“The outcomes from this study reflect the hard work and commitment of the trusts involved, but have a wider significance for the community-led regeneration network as a whole. They are very much to be welcomed.”
Sheila Brown, HMI, from Education Scotland’s Community Learning & Development Team said:
“Education Scotland were keen to work with DTAS and the three Development Trusts as part of our programme of trying out different methods of inspection and review activity. The reviews of the Development Trusts has given us a rich source of evaluative evidence about the work of the sector in Scotland.”
Chair of Mull and Iona Community Trust, Sandy Brunton said:
“Entrenched in community-led regeneration since our establishment in 1997, Mull and Iona Community Trust (MICT) warmly welcomed the opportunity to participate in this study.
“It is very easy to become so focused on the delivery of projects and forget why such projects were introduced in the first place, and taking part in the pilot presented us with an invaluable opportunity to look at what MICT has achieved and accomplished over the past 19 years. We are delighted that our community engagement and involvement has been highlighted as a key strength of the organisation as two of our key aims are to build community cohesion and reduce social isolation.
“Looking beyond MICT, it is great to see some recognition of the wider impact and effectiveness of development trusts and community-led regeneration.”