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October 13, 2010

Scotland needs a community sector strategy

LPL has long argued that the Scottish Government’s refusal to acknowledge the existence of the community sector as a distinct part of the wider Third Sector (in the way that it has for social enterprise) reflects a deep ambivalence towards community empowerment more generally.  Our civil servants are sceptical as to whether the reality in England is any more meaningful than it is here.  But at least England has the semblance of a community sector strategy

Extract from The future role of the third sector in social and economic regeneration: final report

3.10 Larger community based social enterprises which often own or manage assets can also have a unique role in building and strengthening communities, acting as an anchor in the community for the provision of services and facilities for the rest of the community sector as well as generating wealth for the community, as set out in paragraph 3.24.

3.11 Building on the consultation and this evidence gathered during the third sector review, the Government is proposing a new strategy for building stronger and more active communities through investment in a thriving community sector and community activity and volunteering. The primary responsibility for strengthening communities lies with Local Government, and over the coming years it will be critical that Local Authorities continue to build on the principles of Local Compacts and the Local Government White Paper to develop relationships with the third sector. To support this work, the Government will also make several strategic investments to build the environment to enable community based organisations to thrive and to work with Local Authorities and other local statutory bodies.

3.12 The strategy therefore contains the following mutually reinforcing elements:
• work to further build relationships between the local third sector and Local Authorities;
• investment to improve the level and quality of small grant funding available to community groups;
• investment in community anchors to enable greater enterprise and sustainability;
• continued investment in building a culture of volunteering and mentoring and, capacity building – investing in provision to support smaller community based organisations and volunteers.