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Capacity building in our communities

Our National Park Partnership Plan sets out a vision for how communities across the National Park can be supported to influence and deliver actions to improve the quality of life and place. Support for community capacity building and community engagement are fundamental to empowering communities to influence services or deliver projects in order to create positive and sustainable social, economic and environmental benefits.


What is community capacity building?

The Scottish Community Development Centre suggests community capacity building is defined as ‘activities, resources and support that strengthen the skills, abilities and confidence of people and community groups to take effective action and leading roles in the development of communities’.

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How we work with our communities

We engage our communities on the breadth of our work through regular communications, events, consultations, meetings and other case by case engagements. Our Communities Team works with a range of partners across the Park to coordinate support to communities. This support aims to enable communities – especially Community Development Trusts and Community Councils – to become confident, organised, cohesive and influential, so they can work in partnership with others to identify solutions to problems or opportunities and deliver projects or initiatives.

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Community Councils

Community Councils play an important role in local democracy and are the most local tier of elected community representation. They are set up by statute by a local authority and are run by elected residents to act on behalf of the community. Planning authorities are required to consult Community Councils on certain planning applications and many local authorities choose to involve them in the Community Planning process. Community Councils are made up of of unpaid volunteers who care about their community and want to make it a better place to live.

To find out more about Community Councils please visit the Scottish Government website, or the Community Councils Scotland website. Find out more information on how to find or contact a local Community Council in the National Park.

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Community Development Trusts

Development Trusts are community organisations that are owned and managed by the local community and aim to achieve the sustainable regeneration of a community or address a range of economic, social, environmental and cultural issues. They are independent but seek to work in partnership with other private, public and third sector organisations and aim to reduce dependency on grant support by generating income through enterprise and the ownership of assets. All trading surpluses are principally reinvested in the organisation or the community.

Find out how to contact a local Community Development Trust in the National Park.

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Community Partnership

The Community Partnership is an independent charity and a membership organisation that brings together community groups big and small from across Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park with a vision of an active network of vibrant, enterprising and sustainable communities, working together to achieve their full potential.

In February 2021 the membership of the Community Partnership took the difficult decision to wind up at the end of March. From April 2021, the Loch Lomond and The Trossachs Countryside Trust will take on an increased role that includes improved communications with communities on core topics and closer working with community groups in achieving positive actions to address the climate and biodiversity crises. Read more on the closure and support available to communities from both the Countryside Trust and National Park Authority.

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