The event report from the Community Development Association Scotland (CDAS) conference is available below, including presentations from the day.


CDAS - Our event ‘Making Community Empowerment a Reality: a shared commitment to community development’ was held on 7 March 2017, in St Paul’s & St George’s Church, Edinburgh. A wide range of people from community and voluntary groups, public services and others across Scotland and beyond attended. (Tweets about the event)

Keynote Speaker‘s presentation

Martin Cawley, Director, Big Lottery Fund Scotland  (PPT, 2.36MB)

Practice Presentations

The core of the day’s activities was the opportunity to meet, hear from and discuss with some very varied community groups and projects. Summaries of who they are, what they have done and how they did it will appear in our forthcoming publication ‘How Community Development Happens’ (link to follow).

Slide presentations were made in one of these sessions, on Participatory Budgeting  and young peopleInternational experience   (PPT, 2Mb)  PB and Young People in North Ayrshire    (PPT, 115Kb)

Here are some notes on two other sessions:

Community action to reduce poverty: £20 More project, Comas (Dumbiedykes, Edinburgh) (Doc)

People making a community plan for their area (Mauchline Action Group and Vibrant Communities, East Ayrshire Council) (Doc) 

Closing sessions

Open Space discussions were held on:

  • Participatory Budgeting – Jez Hall
  • Asset transfer – and alternatives – John Glover
  • Locality planning – Suzanne Brodie
  • Communities of interest – Sandra Stuart

In the final session, led by Andy Milne (Chief Executive, SURF and CDAS committee member), we began to explore the potential for a common commitment to community development?. Points made included:

  • ‘Good community development makes you cry’ – an authentic process has to be relational
  • There is a need for recognition, and celebration, of the CD role (in public agencies) to help develop a positive culture for this work (perhaps build into staff appraisals?)
  • We need a whole council approach, led from the top, endorsed by the CEO (East Ayrshire example)
  • We need high level political leadership – Scottish Government and local government levels
  • How is community empowerment going to be audited? At Community Planning Partnership level and also at locality level, including the work of Health and Social Care Partnerships
  • Concerns that communities of interest are being marginalised in the community empowerment debate (and legislation)
  • The guidance on the Community Empowerment (Scotland) Act needs to be accompanied with information at a local level on what supports are available (for engagement, asset transfer, participation requests) and where they can be accessed (local authority? Third Sector Interface?)
  • We need to be mindful of public sector (service land!) language and the barriers it can present to community activists and volunteers (non-professionals)

Background reading

Participants received two background documents to help people to think about a common commitment to community development:

A Scottish Commitment to Community Development: Possible Recommendations (PDF)

Why Community Development Matters – a few views (Doc)  – examples of responses by national organisations who are members of CDAS about what CD means to them. The full range of responses is also now available (PDF).

Source: CDAS

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