Facilitating engagement and involvement between communities and statutory agencies


“Facilitating
engagement
and
involvement
between
communities
and statutory
agencies”

Facilitating engagement and involvement between communities and statutory agencies

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Rural Partnerships have developed considerable expertise and wide experience in this field. This is helped by being independent organisations, managed by boards of community representatives and working closely with statutory agencies as part of community planning partnerships. They operate to the National Standards for Community Engagement. Being area based and having a detailed understanding of the needs and dynamics of their communities they are uniquely placed to facilitate engagement, to support particular initiatives as well as on-going relationships.

CASE STUDY: MARR COMMUNITY WARD FORUMS

In Marr, which covers 47% of the land area of Aberdeenshire and has only 15% of the population, rurality is a particular challenge to effective engagement between communities and agencies. The Marr Community Planning Group, in 2008, commissioned the Marr Area Partnership to manage and co-ordinate quarterly forums in each of the three multi councillor wards. These have become significant events. They serve as a mechanism for community groups to set the agenda to ensure that their needs are being met whilst at the same time allowing agencies to engage with communities effectively. Community Councils and other community groups have asked for and received training enabling them to develop capacity. The participation of agencies allows them to inform, engage with and listen to communities. Evaluation of the forums, from both agency and community perspectives, has evidenced increased mutual understanding and confidence in working together for the benefit of all.

Examples of the wide range of issues addressed are; funding sources, development of the Marr Youth Action Plan, review of health needs and indicators, community benefits of renewable energy and sustainability projects, and volunteering organisations/activities. The added value that the Marr Area Partnership brings to the forums is their connection with communities and ability to support both agencies and communities in the process.


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