A community arts and development organisation in Dumfries is making a bid to take back control of its neglected town centre and become the first in Scotland to buy back its high street. It hopes to transform the down-at-heel centre into a bustling hub full of urban homes, social enterprises and local small businesses.
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A page on the Scottish Government website claims, boldly, to describe How Community Planning Works.Cynics might answer: “It’s complicated.” They might be right.
While community planning has been around since the 2003 Local Government Act, the big shift underway is making sure it’s not just token consultation, but genuine community participation in planning our futures. This is what the 2015 Community Empowerment Act envisaged, and it is a big change.
Since it was announced in October that residents of the Isle of Ulva, along with those on neighbouring Mull, would be given the opportunity to attempt a community buyout of the island, there has been a great deal of interest from all over the globe. Articles have featured in newspapers and online in the likes of Australia, France, Singapore and the UAE. There has been great support for the project, but also a certain amount of criticism - land reform can be a divisive topic.
To read this article in full, please see The Huffington Post website.
At this time of year, loneliness, that scourge of the modern era, tends to attract more attention than usual. Latest research suggests nine million people in the UK feel lonely most of the time and while older people are most vulnerable, this is something that can beset anyone at any age. And it carries a serious health warning. Loneliness kills. The fact that it has reached such epidemic proportions suggests that its root causes are now systemic, reflecting some deep-seated malaise within society. Scottish Government is committed to take action - a national strategy on loneliness is expected soon.