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Scottish Community Alliance

- Local People Leading

In 2011, a number of Scotland’s community sector networks came together to form the Scottish Community Alliance. Our purpose is to campaign collectively for a stronger and more cohesive community sector in Scotland.

SCA has two main functions – to promote the work of local people in their communities and to influence national policy in order to reflect the best interests of the sector.

A guiding principle for SCA as an organisation is that it should seek to add value to the work of the individual networks within its membership. To this end, as an organisation it has remained ‘light touch’, employing a minimum of staff, and directly investing whenever possible in activities that compliment and support the work of its membership.

Lessons learned


The downside of so much attention being focused on the way that communities across the land have responded to the challenges of lockdown is that it might start to be taken for granted. And as the focus shifts from the initial emergency response to longer term issues of local recovery and resilience, there’s a need to try to learn lessons from this first phase so they inform the national approach going forward. SCA spoke with a group of community anchor organisations that have been to the fore of the emergency response phase. Some interesting observations.

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This is the most clicked on article from our most recent Briefing – 23rd September 2020

Measuring community strength

It seems a bit of an omission, given how much is being expected of communities at the moment, but there is no real consensus around how to measure the strength of a community. No doubt views are formed anecdotally and shared informally but the lack of transparency and a common understanding of how such views are arrived at helps no one. A useful contribution – although not without flaws – comes from think tank Onward which identifies 5 key threads that combine to form our social fabric and can be used to measure changes in community strength over time.

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Community Anchor Organisations

Those communities that are the most effective in terms of organising themselves to address whatever challenges they face, appear to have certain characteristics in common. In particular, these communities tend to organise themselves around a local organisation (sometimes more than one working in partnership) which is under the control and ownership of local people.

These organisations have come to be known as Community Anchor Organisations (CAOs). Since its formation, SCA has consistently advocated that the presence of a community  anchor organisation is a prerequisite of effective and sustained community empowerment.

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Our fortnightly briefing - LOCAL PEOPLE LEADING

Once a fortnight, we publish LOCAL PEOPLE LEADING - a compendium of comment and coverage of relevant policy and stories of community action from across the spectrum. Currently going out to just over 4,300 subscribers - a readership which include community activists, journalists, academics, politicians (national, local and community), civil servants and local government officers. Anyone with even a passing interest in Scotland's community sector should subscribe - and it's free!

Our latest tweets

September 24, 2020
One for your diary...
September 24, 2020
So important to remember figures like John Pearce. A real thinker (and gentleman). In the same mould as Stephen Maxwell, formerly of SCVO and much more besides, @SCVO used to hold an annual lecture in his name. What happened to that?
September 23, 2020
Buried deep in the Programme for Government (Page 115, line 49) is a commitment to explore a new tier of democracy. Why is that important? Today's briefing is here
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