Scottish Community Sector Alliance

Scottish Community Sector Alliance

Local People Leading
January, 2011

 

Local People Leading is changing.   Originally an informal gathering of Scotland’s community sector networks and intermediaries, Local People Leading has taken the decision to formally constitute itself as the Scottish Community Sector Alliance.  

 

The Alliance will step up previous efforts to give Scotland’s community sector a strong identity and voice and to promote the sector’s achievements.  In doing this, we remain committed to LPL’s overarching themes of community empowerment and enabling communities to become stronger and more resilient.   

 

The Alliance defines the community sector to be that part of the Third Sector which is specifically driven by the communities it serves. In the main this is made up of thousands of small local groups – often isolated and poorly supported.

 

We believe there is a pressing need to strengthen and support the role of the community sector in Scotland because :

 

 The energy and talents of ordinary people are a huge and largely untapped national resource
 The community sector has a vital contribution to make in helping national and local government deliver the outcomes they seek to achieve for the people of Scotland
 The contribution of the community sector is particularly relevant at this time of spending cuts and increasing pressures on public service providers.  In this climate, it is essential that we find ways to help communities become more resilient and self reliant.  
 A recognition that genuine community engagement and empowerment can only be sustained in the long term if it is bottom-up and led by local people.
 The community sector presents sustainable solutions to some of the toughest economic and social challenges facing our country  

 

Formal membership of the Alliance will remain with those national and regional networks that have community based memberships.  The scope of the work undertaken by these organisations is hugely varied and covers areas such as local economic development, housing, transport, energy, land management, allotments, food production, financial services and the environment.    

 

The Alliance has strong links with local communities the length and breadth of Scotland – both in rural and urban areas – and draws its support from the thousands of small groups that operate in the frontline of Scotland’s communities. 

 

The Alliance is fundamentally committed to greater devolution of resources and decision making to all of Scotland’s communities so that local people can have the opportunity to take greater control over the significant issues that affect their communities.  

 

The Alliance believes the potential of the community sector in Scotland is far from being fully realised and will work to change this. In the first instance, the Alliance has set itself four priorities to achieve: 

 

1) A widespread recognition and understanding that the community sector is a distinct part of Scotland’s broader Third Sector.
2) A national development strategy for the community sector which embraces land reform, public asset transfer and community owned social enterprise.
3) An improved system of local democracy which enables much wider devolution of power and responsibility over services and resources from local councils to local communities.
4) Promoting collaboration and mutual support across the community sector both at national level through more effective joint work between intermediaries, and at community level by promoting and supporting the role of community anchor organisations.

 

Our approach will be founded on:
 Collaboration between the Alliance’s membership with a view to shaping key areas of government policy.
 Supporting the development of community groups on the ground, by creating connections between them and making the shared knowledge and expertise of the Alliance’s members more easily accessible to them. 

 

The founding members of the Alliance are:

 

Community Energy Scotland, Community Woodlands Association, Community Retail Network, Community Resources Network Scotland, Community Transport Association, Development Trusts Association Scotland, EVH – Supporting Social Employers, Federation of City Farms and Community Gardens, Glasgow and West of Scotland Forum of Housing Associations, Scottish League of Credit Unions, Scottish Allotments and Gardens Society, Senscot, Transition Scotland