We are pleased to be able to announce that consultants, Impact Hub Inverness, have been appointed to carry out a Community Action Plan (CAP) for Strathnairn. An application to Strathnairn Community Benefit Fund (SCBF), which distributes community benefit payments from local renewable energy installations, for full funding has been successful. SDC is very grateful that full funding has been possible. The consultants are to begin work at the end of June, and finish at the end of October.
Below we have provided answers to some questions members of the community may have about the CAP.
What is a CAP?
A CAP establishes a framework for the community to express its needs as perceived by the community, and plan how and when these activities will occur. Focus is more on the process of understanding and overcoming problems in order to meet community needs than just physical development. The community is the main actor in preparing its own CAP.
The process of creating a CAP is not simply a means by which residents can tell existing community groups what they need to do. Issues might include :- existing community groups may not have access to the resources to implement what the community decides it needs; they may not have the capacity in terms of finance, volunteers or training; and there may be legal obstacles. On the other hand, community groups need to recognise the importance of knowing what their community wants, the advantages of planning for the future together.
An effective CAP is created with a partnership of residents and community groups working together to identify, plan and implement the future shape of our community. CAPs also need be flexible – it needs to be easily adjustable to account for unexpected events – for example to cope with a global pandemic. Our CAP will cover the next 10 years. The latter 5 years will be a bit sketchy, and some updating will be needed in about 5 years time.
Doesn’t Strathnairn already have a CAP?
This is a common misconception. Strathnairn has never had a CAP. A community survey was carried out in 2013, with the intention of producing a CAP from it, but this was not done. Even if a CAP had been done it would be almost 8 years old by now and in need of serious updating.
Why can’t Strathnairn do its own CAP? Why does it need a consultant?
Creating a CAP with the help of a consultant means the CAP is created with the benefit of latest techniques and ideas. Only experienced consultants were asked to tender for the CAP. In addition having consultants from outside Strathnairn involved reduces the tendency for unintentional bias that might otherwise creep in. Also respondents to the community survey can be more open about their opinions as respondents will remain anonymous.
Developing our community will rely on funds from outside Strathnairn. But to secure funding from organisations other than SCBF will require a good quality CAP which can only be produced by an experienced independent consultant.
But how does the community get involved?
Community involvement is still under discussion with input from the consultants. There will be a community survey with input from community groups. We shall provide more information when we have it.