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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 Community Councils website. The Park Authority is responsible for planning in the National Park, so please contact the Park Authority’s Planning Team about any Development Planning or Development Management queries.

Below is a map of the Community Councils in and near the National Park. Please click on any area on the map to discover the Community Council representing that area, along with its contact details and the Local Authority responsible for providing governance support.

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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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