Amidst the misery inflicted by the welfare reforms of a few years back, something positive – albeit unintended – may have emerged. When the benefit changes really began to bite, Finance Secretary, John Swinney MSP, called for ideas that might take the edge off some of their impact at a community level. And so, on the back of the proverbial fag packet, we sketched a proposal based on the simple premise that generally speaking, communities already know what they need, and that even small amounts of money, spent wisely by drawing on that local knowledge, will often produce outcomes that put mainstream grant schemes, with their prescribed criteria, in the shade. By really trusting communities to determine their own priorities, a culture of genuinely empowered decision-making over resources has begun to take root. Still very much an outlier amongst its many other community funds, the Scottish Government, to its great credit, has stayed the distance with this one and continued to invest. Colloquially known as Pockets and Prospects, this simple idea gives real expression to that much vaunted, but rarely delivered principle – subsidiarity. So here’s a thought. With all that lies ahead this winter, why not let local people lead part of the response.
In the most recent briefing…
Back in the day when staffing levels at the Scottish Government were more generous, as part of their efforts to deliver more joined up government, some posts were created in the Third Sector division whose sole remit appeared to be to work at the ‘joins’ that lie between different departments so as to develop better understanding and joint working across all that complexity. Our sector has its own highly complex ecosystem, with multiple national and regional networks and intermediaries, all working to support communities. SCA is now recruiting a new role to work at these ‘joins’.
It’s almost inevitable that the cost of living crisis will accelerate our understanding of the circular economy. Our addiction to buying ever more (unnecessary) ‘stuff’ will take a hit as household spending is squeezed and priorities are switched. It won’t feel like these lifestyle changes are being consciously made to save the planet because they’re being forced on us. But it’s just possible that some of these new behaviours will stick if this cost of living crisis eventually passes. Free stores, a concept that began life in the States, could become a regular feature of our High Streets.
The Scottish Government’s ambition to continue to grow the fish farming industry is often at odds with the concerns of coastal communities for the conservation of their marine environment. The industry argues that it is about local jobs and vital inward investment as the counterweight to local environmental concerns. An interesting article in the Conversation explaining how marine tourism can be developed to finance marine conservation. The examples describe a different context to Scotland but some of the same principles could be applied to allay the concerns about the loss of jobs if fish farming was to be much more constrained.
For weeks now all we’ve heard in response to the fact that the energy price cap is being raised later this week have been the defeatist tones of politicians, energy companies and Ofgem itself. There is an air of inevitability about this which no one to my knowledge has satisfactorily explained. But for the first time, a glimmer of good sense and fighting spirit from a group of housing associations led by the redoubtable Di Alexander, who are calling out Ofgem on their legal duty to protect vulnerable people under the European Convention of Human Rights. They’ve got a strong case.
In amongst the festival frenzy that overwhelms Edinburgh at this time of year (at least 6 major festivals simultaneously underway) one relatively small festival that always punches well above its weight took the opportunity this week to launch its programme. Over four weekends during September and October, in four cities across Scotland, Take One Action Film Festival aims to inspire social change and activism with its programme that showcases international documentary and film makers. This year’s Festival explores land as a medium for wielding power and its capacity for violence and resistance in all its forms – including foraging.
Next month sees the launch of Climate Week which is part of the Scottish Government’s Let’s Do Net Zero campaign which in turn is part of the commitment for Scotland to be carbon neutral by 2045. And that’s just one of many campaigns and initiatives designed to tackle the climate crisis – some being driven by the Scottish Government, others by civil society. And so, in the interests of helping the average citizen make sense of this fast growing ‘ tackle the climate crisis’ clutter, it would help to have some proper coordination across the piece. Not easy – but important nonetheless.
A former regeneration area, with strong industrial links, Greater Maryhill has seen a renaissance in recent years. However the community still has a poor health record, and suffers from youth gang territorialism. A diverse community, with many cultures living alongside each other, Maryhill still has the spirit of “old” Glasgow and the friendly community feel within the City Centre. Community Central Hall was built in the early 1920’s and when the building came up for sale in the early 1970’s, an action group was formed to prevent the building being sold for private development. Over the past 35 years CCH…Find out more