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March 23, 2011

New service to promote community ownership

As part of the Scottish Government’s Community Empowerment Action Plan, DTAS received funding to promote the concept of asset transfer both to councils and to a wide range of community groups. Over the past year, the demand for this work has increased dramatically as councils confront the reality of owning assets that they can’t afford to keep. Scottish Government responded last week by awarding significant new funding to DTAS to expand this work.

In 2009, Development Trusts Association Scotland received grant funding from the Scottish Government to deliver the Promoting Asset Transfer programme. The broad aim of the programme is to increase the flow of assets into community ownership. It aims to do this by encouraging and supporting local authorities and community groups both to gain a wider appreciation of the benefits and risks associated with asset transfer and by developing an understanding of the processes involved.

In March 2011 Mr Neil, Minister for Housing and Communities, spoke at one of the last seminars in the series highlighting emerging findings from this programme of work. The most striking of which was the need for further guidance and support, not only for community groups who wish to acquire assets but also for local authorities who may wish to transfer an asset into community ownership. A full report from the two year programme will be available here from May 2011.

In order to meet this need, the Scottish Government has announced £250k of grant funding in 2011-12 to enable the Development Trusts Association Scotland to set up a community ownership guidance and support service.

The new service will offer information, advice, resources and practical support around asset transfer/acquisition activity, with the objective of increasing the level of sustainable asset transfer activity taking place in Scotland.

As we experience a growing and widening interest in community-led regeneration, the availability of information and support on community asset ownership, has the prospect of becoming an ever important element of sustainable regeneration activity.

Further information on how to access the new service will soon be available on the DTAS website.