The Scottish Community Development Centre has produced a report for Voluntary Action Scotland which is intended to stimulate debate within the Third Sector Interface network as to how to consolidate and strengthen the community development role of TSIs.
The report illuminates the issues that need to be addressed internally and in the wider environment to enable the TSI community development role to be more fully recognised. It also highlights the need for community development to be explicitly resourced by funders, including the Scottish Government and other local community planning partners. Headline Findings include:
- TSIs are doing excellent community development work already as “the mortar between the bricks” of their other roles.
- TSIs play a critical role in amplifying community voices and helping services engage with communities.
- Despite the developing Community Empowerment agenda which is central to reforming services and combating inequality, many TSIs are under-resourced to meet this challenge.
Looking at partnerships affecting community development, it concludes:
- Community Planning Partners have good commitment to working with communities in principle but have varied practice and relationships on the ground.
- Community Learning and Development Partnerships are new and not all of them are fully prepared for the challenges of the new Community Empowerment Act.
- TSIs experience varying levels of involvement in these partnerships – from leadership roles to more tokenistic relationships.
- Partnerships for delivering community development are key to maximising resources and delivering ethical, independent support. No sector has the resources to do this on their own.
- Expectations of communities and Community Planning Partners are high – but development capacity is in very short supply and co -ordination of support is in its early stages.