Coalfields Community Futures is an approach to local community planning and sustainable community development that aims to encourage active citizenship and build local democracy.
Coalfield Community Futures has become our flagship project in Scotland and the approach helps us identify community needs, whilst at the same time achieving the results that CRT believes are necessary locally.
CRT recognises that some communities have found it difficult to secure a fair share of the funding that has been channelled through it and other grantmakers during the last 10 years. CRT and other funders have found that in these ‘cold spots’, community leadership, participation, structures, networks and group activity is relatively weak.
This process is about ‘Cultural Planning’ which is about building on local assets and strengths to deliver sustainable community regeneration strategies and services.
Our place-based approach to planning and development, includes identifying and leveraging a community’s cultural resources, strengthening the management of those resources, and integrating those resources across all facets of local planning and decision making.
Following the credit crunch, consistent messages from Scottish Government policy advisers emphasised the importance of developing imaginative and creative, locally rooted community regeneration efforts in response to severe financial constraints on public spending.
This programme involved identifying three multiply deprived ex-mining communities that have not benefited substantially from external funding from the Trust and partner funders. In these areas, we have:
• Built on existing processes of community action research to identify local needs and priorities, using residents as co-researchers
• Worked with local residents and groups to develop a common sense of purpose and a deliverable community action plan
• Made use of a Participatory Budget fund of £20k for each area, which through a participatory budgeting process was allocated by residents to initiate small-scale improvements
• Provided tailored capacity building support, working with local residents and groups to establish skills/structures and secure external funding for agreed projects
• Where possible supported the development of a new community ‘anchor’ organisations to provide a focus or hub for continued community regeneration
• Helped organisations to ‘make the right connections’ by facilitating them to develop relationships with other successful organisations to encourage learning, pooling of resources and ongoing mentoring and support
The process has encouraged widespread participation of local people in preparing a Community Action Plan for their community.
The Community Action Plans contain:
• A vision for the future of the community
• Views on the community now
• The identification of the main strategies for community development
• Priorities for action
The Coalfields Community Futures Programme has resulted in nearly 50 five year action plans (which you can download below) being prepared following an extensive participatory process in communities which includes:
• Stakeholder focus group interviews
• Community Views Household Surveys
• Preparation of a Community Profile
• Convening of a Community Futures Workshop
In each of the areas the process has been managed by a local Steering Group that brought together representatives from a cross section of the community.
Coalfields Community Futures Evaluation – Social Value Lab
Coalfields Community Futures Learning Document – Social Value Lab