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Welcome to the Scottish Community Land Network

This site is for people interested in the management and ownership of land-based assets by communities in Scotland. A Scottish Community Land Network, you might say... As you know the internet is a big 'place' with everything about anything so we brought you relevant news and events, and provide opportunities to share ideas with other people interested in this subject. There are almost 1000 members, and more than 800 articles in our archive.

 

Scottish Community Land Network will not be kept up-to-date after March 2012. However, a new site is being produced by Highlands and Islands Enterprise, and details will be published on this site as soon as they are available.

The most recent articles are available on the home page - previous articles are in their relevant topic areas (browse the 'Topics' menu on the left).

Milk, two sugars and some consultation please

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Some call it consultation.  Others call it market research.  But the people of the Cabrach, viagra sales advice in Moray, case just know it as putting the kettle on.

Most of us would be more likely to associate the phrase door-to-door with a double glazing salesman than with a community consultation process.  But in a search for answers amongst the good folk of the Cabrach, that’s just what Kim Siu has done.

Cabrach peopleKim’s been involved with the Cabrach community in a variety of guises since 2006.  For the last year, she’s worked as their Local Development Officer, employed through the Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) community account management programme.  To test the effectiveness of that programme, baseline information was collected for each community that’s involved.  At the end of the programme, a repeat survey will be completed to work out what’s changed and improved in the area.

In these over-consulted times, our hearts often sink when we’re faced with a multi-page questionnaire.  Response rates are low even when we’re bribed with a prize draw and often the only people who answer are those with a particularly sharp axe to grind.   The Cabrach community contains just 35 households, so a low response rate could have meant that results came from just one or two families.

Cabrach sceneryAnd yet, surprisingly, the Cabrach community managed to turn their small numbers from a hindrance to a help.  The thought of visiting thirty-two households is daunting, but not impossible.  And there’s no more effective way to make connections with local people.  I asked Kim how she went about her new job as a door-to-door community consulter.

“We had a public meeting to launch the project and I let people know that I was planning to try and visit them all to complete the baseline survey.  I told them how I liked my coffee and pointed out that I was always open to offers of a chocolate digestive or two!  I started off with a sign-up sheet, where folk could say what time of day would suit them for a visit, but very few people used it.  So I phoned people directly and arranged appointments in advance – I didn’t want to just cold call on people in case they were busy or wanted to tidy up first!  Once I rang people, almost everyone was happy for me to come round and only two people said they weren’t interested in taking part.

Going to visit people did take a lot of time – each visit took at least an hour and sometimes up to three hours if people had a lot to say.  We’d run through the survey questions, then we’d also talk about what people would want to put on a wish-list for the community and if they had any particular skills that could help deliver those wishes.  Most of the visits were done in the winter, so I spent a lot of time sliding around on farm tracks.  I think a few folk were worried I’d get snowed in at their houses, which might’ve been over-staying my welcome!  In total we got responses from 32 out of 35 households, which is around a 90% return rate.  That’s a lot more than we’d have got if we’d just posted out the questionnaires.”

Cabrach people at an open daySince her winter of sliding around the Cabrach, the results from the consultation have been analysed and the community have produced a consolidated wish list.  In some ways, the consultation confirmed what people already suspected, with a desire for more people and more housing at the top of the list.  But other things were more un-expected, with folk also hoping to see a book club and arts and sculpture courses.

Going door to door isn’t an option for everyone.  But in rural communities with smaller populations, it might be the most effective way to find out what people really think.  Phoning people up and inviting yourself into their home can be daunting and always reminds me that I’m not cut out for a career in sales.  But if you want meaningful consultation, with a healthy smattering of tea and biscuits, it may be the answer.

If you want to know more about the Cabrach community and how they’re hoping to deliver on their wish list, have a look at their website.  And if you’re just about to start on a consultation process, we’ve put together some notes on useful web links, possible funding sources and techniques that you might use, which you can access here.

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