Community owned projects around Scotland present Owning Our Future at Parliamentary Reception
26 April 2022
On the 26th of April at a Parliamentary Reception, presentations from 5 community owned projects across Scotland – all members of Community Land Scotland, were viewed as part of the Owning Our Future project.
The event was hosted by MSP Jenny Minto and as well as the communities themselves, also heard from Tom Arthur, Minister for Community Wealth, Planning and Local Government on the importance of communities owning their own assets in building resilience and community wealth. The projects are in Mull, Coigach, Glasgow, Peebles and North Lanarkshire. The Owning Our Future project was funded by the UK National Lottery Communities Fund and was one of only four projects to be funded in Scotland.
The purpose of the project was to find out how to help communities imagine a better future after the Covid 19 pandemic and it drew on the democratic buy in that comes with community ownership. Artists were placed in each of five organisations to help them work with their communities to imagine a different future. Several of the projects had a focus on what young people wanted the future look like post Covid. All of the communities produced a creative work that set out their vision for the future. Communities in Peebles, Coigach and Viewpark North Lanarkshire produced maps of the future. South West Mull and Iona Development created a series of podcasts and Kinning Park in Glasgow created a mural about community ownership.
Ailsa Raeburn, Chair of Community Land Scotland, said: “What we aimed to do with this project was to try and understand why it was communities were able to respond so quickly when the pandemic hit; to see what changes this made within those communities and how people wanted that to continue. This evidence was used to help them imagine a post COVID world with all of the information and ideas and suggestions then pulled together to tell policymakers and politicians what they thought needed to change. Everyone wanted to use the lessons learned to help them respond even quicker and better if another crisis should happen.”
Key themes were found to be common in all the 5 projects – the power of community owned projects to respond fast, nimbly and decisively to local needs – food and medicine distribution and mental health issues were challenges faced by all as were loss of income to others. Community landowners were able to use their own resources, including income they generated themselves from their own land and buildings, their brilliant staff and volunteers and build on the deep connections with the community to respond quickly. The power of democracy and local control was key– many of those interviewed voiced the need for more community owned projects, particularly green space. And inclusion – many of the community owned projects worked with groups they had not previously reached or interacted with who came forwards during the pandemic and connected.