Glenkens and District Trust (GDT)
Project name: Glenkens and District Trust (GDT)
Location: Glenkens, Dumfries & Galloway
CARES funding: £20,000 enablement grant
Date installed/operational: September 2020
Glenkens and District is a rural community of communities in Dumfries and Galloway. The Glenkens and District Trust (GDT) was established to support regeneration and development in the local area, to make it a better place to live, work, play and visit.
To support the trust in ensuring that the funds are distributed wisely and strategically, it was agreed in 2017 that a community action plan was required. It was recognised that a community action plan would be a valuable source of data for organisations across the area to assist them in identifying priorities and to develop their own plans. GDT were awarded a CARES enablement grant of £20,000 to deliver a community-wide action plan.
The communities directly involved are:
- Corsock and Kirkpatrick Durham
- Crossmichael and District
- Royal Burgh of New Galloway and Kells Parish
The community’s aim, however, is that many of the initiatives arising out of the plan will benefit the wider area.
In March 2019, GDT came to an agreement with the developers of Blackcraig Wind Farm to manage and distribute a community benefit fund with the administrative support of Foundation Scotland
Project aims and objectives
The project’s objective was to produce a Community Action Plan; a concise document setting out a clear vision for the area with priorities supported by local people, a timeline for achieving them, and options for implementing them.
Although managing and distributing the wind farm’s community benefit fund was a key motivation to initiating the plan, the community wanted its reach to extend beyond projects funded through this source. GDT also wanted the plan to act as a strategic road map for the whole community over the next five years and beyond.
It was important for the Community Action Plan to be aspirational, but also fundable and deliverable. The plan would need to be backed up by a detailed report giving the underlying data and evidence for the identified priorities.
The resulting Community Action Plan aims to guide and enable the allocation of funds as effectively as possible in line with the long-term interests of the community, meeting identified community needs.
Outcomes and achievements
In late 2017 and early 2018, early data collection work towards a Community Action Plan took place.
In late 2019, after using CARES procurement guidelines and supported by its local development officer, GDT appointed Community Enterprise to analyse its research and carry out further community consultations to develop the plan’s vision, themes, and projects. The result was a strategic community action plan that the whole community contributed to and supported.
Community Enterprise and GDT recognised that engaging with as many people in the local community as possible would be a critical part of the process of creating a Community Action Plan. They wanted the plan to be created by the community, for the community. More extensive and highly participative research was carried out between December 2019 and February 2020, ensuring that members of the community had plenty of opportunities to share their views.
The Community Action Plan was published in September 2020, after being delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The resulting plan sets out the community’s shared goal to be a connected, resilient, and carbon-neutral place; somewhere people will want to live, to work, to bring up their families, and to grow old. It will be somewhere that other places in Scotland will look to for inspiration.
The plan sets out four key themes that emerged as the community’s main priorities:
- a connected community
- an asset-rich community
- an economically flourishing community
- a carbon-neutral community.
The plan identifies possible options to implement, and indicates timescales required for development. The plan also recognises that the COVID-19 emergency had highlighted how quickly things can change. Therefore, although the plan had a clear direction of travel, flexibility is always important.
The following values and principles were also developed to help guide the implementation of the plan.
- Respect for the special environment and rural landscape that has been placed in our trust.
- Partnership – collaboration between all sections of the community will be a key element in our projects.
- Inclusion – a diverse community will include and welcome people of all ages, abilities, and ethnicities. We will welcome project proposals put forward by any members and groups.
- Sustainability – projects we support will be outward-looking, flexible, and unafraid to take on new challenges. They will provide continuing benefits to the community and show awareness of the value of community self-reliance.
The project’s next phase is to set out how the community’s priorities will be implemented. They will identify which community groups and bodies which might be able and ready to take forward some projects now, as well as any gaps that need filled in order to maximise successful delivery of priorities in the future.
Monitoring and evaluation are an essential part of any Community Action Plan to ensure it is being implemented and achieving its aims. The purpose of monitoring and review will be to check on progress and take stock of where things are on a regular basis, stimulating and resourcing ideas as required. A steering group will do this, and work is underway to progress and develop this.
A spokesperson for GDT said: “This was a multi-faceted project, which demanded lots of time from everyone involved. It was much more than just a data collection exercise, but we were very focused on facilitating a plan with actions that could be delivered by the community.
“Using consultants from outside the area with experience of creating community action plans was critical. They were seen by community members as independent and were able to bring expertise and experience from other areas too.
“It is easy to involve people who are active in the local community, but it is more of a challenge to bring in and engage the less active. This needs thought and innovation, but it’s absolutely worth the effort.”
Find out more about Blackcraig Wind Farm and Glenkens and District’s Community Action Plan on the Foundation Scotland website.