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.
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.
This is the most clicked on article from our most recent Briefing – 21st October 2020
The 56,000 acre Galson Estate on Lewis is community owned. When Covid hit, one of the first actions of the Trust was to maintain the community newspaper – a lifeline for many of its residents – when all the paper’s staff were furloughed. Volunteers kept it going for months. Local press is clearly valued in that community but it’s difficult to get a wider sense of how vibrant Scotland’s community media is. The Independent Community News Network, based in Cardiff University, has only nine Scottish members. There must be countless more. Sounds like we need our own network.
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.
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!
(21st October 2020)