Community Futures projects have been carried out with over 40 communities throughout Scotland by the Small Town And Rural Development Group (STAR). It provides services to assist communities in preparing strategic plans for their own future (Community Futures); an essential local and community component of Community Planning.
STAR designed and implemented the Community Futures Stirling Programme of local community planning on behalf of Stirling Council, Scottish Enterprise Forth Valley and Scottish Natural Heritage. The Stirling Council Pilot Programme was very successful in helping four communities to identify their own vision and priorities for the future; Community Futures Stirling won the 2001/2 National Royal Town Planning Institute award for Planning for Social Inclusion.
The National Park Community Futures Programme was designed to assist all the communities in the Loch Lomond & the Trossachs National Park Area. The Park is a network of 24 communities that have been assisted to prepare community plans for their future.
The Programme was designed by Colin Roxburgh who also provided technical support throughout.
A group from Mayo and Northern Ireland visited Sterling Council and the Loch Lomond & Trossachs National Park to gather information on the Community Futures Programme of Community Development and to hear firsthand the views of the local communities themselves.
The evaluation of the trip was very positive and the group saw its potential as a community development model for Mayo. Communities in Mayo at the time were experiencing change at a fast pace and struggling to create a local environment which takes into account the needs of its entire people. Most rural communities were struggling to keep volunteers, insufficient infrastructure and resources and an ever increasing need for social inclusion measures. It was felt that Community Development in Mayo needed a new impetus and energy to get communities involved.
The Community Forum members brought the information back to the County Forum who in turn endorsed the Community Futures Pilot Programmes. Mayo County Community Forum acts as lead partner with other supporters and funders of the programme. The County Development Board has a key role in supporting this process.
• to assist communities prepare ' local community plans' for their future;
• to enable community councils to document and represent the needs and aspirations of their communities;
• to provide evidence to support the development and funding of prioritized community projects;
• to enable agencies to identify strategic priorities, develop programmes in response to community needs and aspirations, and measure progress in supporting communities against a baseline of information collected through the Community Futures process
• to encourage active citizenship
• to strengthen local democracy.
Community Futures Action Plan
The plan is prepared following extensive consultation within the Community over a three to six month period.
• A series of interviews with different groups & individuals representing all aspects of the Community
• A Community view household survey, carried out with the help of the Community Futures Steering Group.
• A Community Profile detailing facts & figures about the Community
• A Community Futures workshop.
The plan is characterised by:
• a clear and rigorous strategic planning framework
• the way in which active participation by a broad cross-section of local people is encouraged
• being set within the context of a programme managed by a partnership between communities and agencies
• The way in which the local community planning process has been designed to provide a springboard for local organisational development and action.
The local community plans are simple, realistic and are a bottom-up approach to Community Development. Informed by a process of community consultation and involvement the plan summarises local community views on:
- The Community as it is now
- The Community’s vision for the future
- The issues that matter most to the community
- What needs to be done?
- Priorities action.
Mayo Community Futures is a partnership of Community and Agencies and was established as a sub committee by the County Community Forum in 2005 to:
• Assist communities prepare Community Action Plans
• Encourage more people to become active in their communities
• Strengthen and develop local community organisations
• Enable communities to identify and progress priority projects and actions
• Enable communities to effectively represent their interests at local, county, and national levels.
The members of the management committee are;
Mayo Community Forum; - Pat Conway, (Chair), Liam Keaveney, Francis Brennan, Brian Higgins
Mayo CDB; - John Coll, Director of Services
LEADER; - Norita Clesham, SWMDC
VEC; - Pauline McDermott
Tochar Valley Network; - Maureen Lally
Co-ordinator; - Mary Wrafter