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October 21, 2009

CVS argue their role has been ignored

In a previous Briefing, we complained about the lack of urgency from Scottish Government in taking forward its Community Empowerment Action Plan.  We circulated our draft response to the Plan in which we identified the need for communities to have access to their own resources for capacity building.  A CVS in the Scottish Borders was irked that we had ignored its role as a source of independent support for the sector

The Bridge is a community development organisation and Council for Voluntary Service (CVS) operating in the Scottish Borders. We are a listed supporter of the Local People Leading campaign.

We have read with interest the response by Local People Leading to the Scottish Government’s Community Empowerment Action Plan and welcome your comments in support of wider recognition of the Community Sector. We agree wholeheartedly that the community sector has distinct needs within the wider Third Sector.

However, your paper ignores completely the role of the local CVS and the wider CVS Network in support of communities; paragraph 9 is completely inaccurate, claiming that communities have no access to independent community capacity building resources.

As independent and local community anchors, managed by local people, CVS provide support to the sector and leadership in local networking to share skills and develop the capacity of our local communities. Our fundamental aim is to grow local social capital and in this aim we are both co-ordinated and supported through our CVS Network Scotland Foundation Business Plan 2008-2011: A Thriving and More Connected Voluntary Sector. The stated vision within the Plan is as follows:

CVS (as anchor organisations) enable the Scottish community and voluntary sector to:

•    play a key role in developing thriving communities
•    connect to policy and decision-making, and
•    grow our social economy

Actions to support capacity-building and local community empowerment are identified and implemented by individual CVS in response to local need, within the framework of the national Network Business Plan. This independent development work is supported financially – at least in part – by grant aid from the Scottish Government.

Your case for additional (and much needed) resources to support the community sector is weakened by this fundamental error, and as supporters of your campaign we are extremely disappointed that our role has been completely ignored.