Residents of Crieff have taken the next step towards forming a Community Development Trust in the town.
More then 65 people attended an information session at the Strathearn Community Campus on Tuesday evening, 27th September, to learn more about what is involved in setting up a community-run charitable company. The meeting, organised by the Crieff Regeneration Action Group (CRAG), heard from Colin Carr (Voluntary Action Perthshire) and Colin Roxburgh (Small Town and Rural Development Group), who both have extensive experience of helping community groups to set up and run development trusts and other similar organisations to achieve their own community goals. Colin Roxburgh gave examples of projects that other trusts from around Scotland have been involved in, and he commented on the benefits of having such an organisation in a community. “A Development Trust enables a community to become a partner in its own development.”
There was plenty of time for questions and discussion at the meeting and a wide range of issues were discussed, including how a Development Trust would relate to other existing community bodies and the need to bring forward ideas at an early stage about generating an income for community projects. In addition, speakers highlighted the importance of having a Community Action Plan (which will be developed through consultation with the community) to focus the work of the Development Trust. An agreed Community Action Plan identifies the community’s priorities and makes it clear to everyone what projects the Trust will and will not take on.
At the end of the meeting, there was a call for volunteers to form a Steering Group which would run for approximately 3-4 months, with the specific aim of setting up a Community Development Trust in Crieff. We’re delighted to announce that fifteen people at the meeting agreed to be involved in the Steering Group, and there are several others who were unable to attend the meeting who are also interested in participating.
It was agreed by the volunteers that the group will meet approximately fortnightly, and will take decisions about issues such as what the Development Trust will be called, the geographical area it will cover, and the wording of its legal Constitution. The group will also need to be involved in drafting a Community Action Plan, to be developed in consultation with the residents of Crieff.
It is important to emphasise that the Steering Group is a short-term interim committee, comprising unelected volunteers willing to donate their time and energy. Once the Development Trust is established, its Trustees will be elected by the membership of the Trust – i.e. the interested members of the community.