- Our Services
- Business Plans
- Project Development
- Project Management
- Community Action Plans
- Community Landscaping
The Community Links staff team provide a range of services including:
• Preparing and updating regeneration plans
• Project initiation and development
• Needs and demand analysis
• Staff and committee training
• Preparation of briefs
• Project management
• Regeneration portfolio development and management
• Feasibility studies, business plans, option assessments
• Funding identification and funding applications
• Community information and participation
The ethos of our work is to build on existing strengths across the community. Community Links Scotland try and identify all stages that communities can increase and or begin their involvement in the management and control of local facilities, activities and services.
Each client is allocated a project manager who has overall responsibility for the management and delivery of the project/activity/service/facility. The project managers meet with the client to identify, prioritise and update the regeneration aims on a regular basis.
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Business Plans and Feasibility Studies
Community Links Scotland has carried out a number of business plans and feasibility studies across Scotland with the majority focusing around the acquisition, development and running of local community assets such as community centres, village halls and community woodlands. In many cases this activity is funded through grants from Awards for All, Investing in Ideas, LEADER and the Scottish Government.
CLS staff can cover all aspects of the business planning process, with particular emphasis on the consultation stages that are essential to any successful plan. We use our own in house team of surveyors from Streetlinks to carry out face to face doorstep interviews, on street targeted group interviews or accessing information from community members attending open and community days. Our experience in fundraising means that finance, funding and revenue projections are both accurate and reflective of what can and cannot be achieved.
In addition to the case studies, business plans and feasibility studies have also been completed for: Muirhouse HA, Edinburgh; Pennyghael Hall Committee, Mull; Hillhead HA, Kirkintilloch; Route 81, Garelochhhead; Kilmelford Village Hall, Argyll & Bute; Bellsmyre Information & Advice Centre, Dumbarton; Easdale Village Hall, Argyll & Bute; Oban Youth & Community Centre, Oban and North West Mull Community Woodland.
A major element of the activity of Community Links Scotland is working with client groups to identify funding that suits a project idea and then assist the group to access the funding itself.
All our project staff have experience of identifying and completing often complex funding applications, however, we also have specialist fundraising members of staff who specialise in keeping abreast of all current funding streams and who are available to assist project staff and clients when required. In the last year CLS staff have attracted almost £12.5m of funding for client groups from with individual grants ranging from £100 to £640,000.
Funding most commonly accessed includes: Lottery, Scottish Government, LEADER, SRDP, Awards for All, Investing in Ideas, Voluntary Action Fund, Children in Need, Robertson Trust, and Tudor Trust.
Underlying all the work of Community Links Scotland is a commitment to community consultation that supports the community ownership and community empowerment process. Our staff undertake a variety of consultation methods and activities including:
• Questionnaires - postal, on-line, street based and Qwizdom
• Face to face meetings
• Public or semi public open days - boards, models, stickers, workshops
• Street events
• Social events
On any one piece of work, several of the above methods can be used, from in house Streetlinks staff who can engage with young people on the streets or householders in their homes to Qwizdom, a hand held electronic instant response system that allows 120 people play "ask the audience".
Community Links Scotland staff become involved in a client's project either at the very early ideas stage or much further into the development of the process. At whatever stage of engagement, our project staff provide years of experience across a great variety of projects, situations and issues that need to be progressed.
In some cases we have been involved even before there is an idea!
Staff have carried out several Community Action Plans in Taynuilt, Rosneath and Kilcregan designed to identify what the community would wish to see introduced into their respective areas in terms of activities, facilities and services. In many cases staff help community groups to take forward outline ideas into tangible projects before handing these entirely back to the community or taking a much more hands off approach.
Community Links Scotland work in many situations where there is neither sufficient community confidence, capacity or available staff for good projects to move forward. In these situations our project management staff provide support for client groups assisting them in the appointment of design teams, meeting funders, negotiating with public sector agencies, liaising with contractors and other consultants and generally guiding them into the development process.
As a result of this close and long term working relationship (many staff have worked for up to 8 years with clients) clients trust our advice and know that the groups best interest are at the heart of all decisions made.
Our involvement in long term project management includes Route 81, Garelochhead; Arrochar & Tarbet Community Development Trust and Rosneath & Clynder Community Action Trust.
Community Action Plans and wider role
One of the major roles of Community Links Scotland over the last ten years has been to provide Registered Social Landlords (RSL) with a wider role plan service providing them with an overview of their wider role priorities over a three year period. During these ten years, wider role activities were for the most part supported through the Scottish Government Wider Role budget which in turn served to leaver in funding from other sources. Scottish Government community regeneration funding through the 2012 - 2014 People and Communities Fund, is no longer ring fenced for RSLs but they continue to develop their local regeneration activities supported by Community Links Scotland in our planning and funding procurement role. In a similar way, we support other community anchor organisations such as development trusts and constituted action groups, to develop community action plans. Community action plans and other RSL regeneration plans are not often initiated, actioned, completed and evaluated within one financial year are therefore prepared to span 2 - 3 years minimum and aim to achieve the following:
• provide a development framework for partnership working with statutory and local organisations
• provide the national and local policy context for community regeneration in the RSL area of operation
• identify the local needs, based on statistical evidence for that population and locale
• identify local demand, based on community consultations, including gaps in the provision of services and facilities and ensure that addressing these gaps is reflected in the projects proposed
• provide indicative costs for project proposals
• identify a potential funding strategy, specific to each project
• establish outcomes, outputs and evaluation and monitoring indicators in order to enable a satisfactory review system
• prioritise development activities for any one year and for the short, medium and long term
• provide a document which can project for 1 - 3 years and which can be reviewed and if necessary reprioritised each year
In response to the success of our volunteer training programme that provided volunteering opportunities to a number of people through courses such as University of Glasgow Activate course, HNC Working with Communities, Introduction to Youth Work and Child Protection and Diversity, we developed a training programme that offers access to learning, support and front line work experience.
By becoming an SQA approved centre, we are able to provide SQA accredited training for volunteers and staff. We are currently working towards delivering the PDA in Youth Work and SVQ in Volunteer Skills as well as continuation of the courses we have run previously.
The key aim is to support volunteers to gain crucial work based experience skills and access a comprehensive relevant training programme which equips them to help meet the needs of their local community and a progression route into further training/education or employment. In return the volunteers commit to an agreed amount of volunteering hours available to support local youth and community regeneration services. The programme aims to leave the volunteers with a lasting legacy of positive, social and economic investment.
Timetable of courses available will be published in due course.
Groundlinks is a subsidiary of Community Links Scotland which provides a community based landscape architecture service to Registered Social Landlords and voluntary sectors organisations. Employing two experienced fully qualified landscape architects and a CAD technician, our aim is to give local people a strong voice in the development of the spaces and places that make up their local environment. Groundlinks consults closely with community groups and individuals involving them in the spatial assessment and design processes from the outset, in the belief that only in this way can workable and sustainable solutions be found for local environmental issues. The kind of projects addressed by Groundlinks range from local access, parking and play facilities to the development of community owned gardens, allotments and woodlands. Staff use a range of approaches to engage people in the assessment and design processes including youth outreach, photographic recording, workshops and walkabouts.
Groundlinks delivers a full design and site supervision service from concept and final design through to tender issue, site management and contract completion. We work either as sole consultants or as part of larger design teams and with landscape contractors as both main contractors and subcontractors; in some in cases we also coordinate local employment training teams to implement landscape solutions whilst at the same time providing valuable training and work experience opportunities for local unemployed individuals.
Groundlinks aims to:
• provide a design and project implementation service tailored to meet the needs of the client
• develop and deliver projects which support regeneration priorities in the area
• develop and deliver projects in a way that maximises the sustainability of the landscape solution
• ensure that local people are fully involved in the development and where appropriate, the delivery of landscape solutions
• develop and deliver landscape solutions to a consistently high standard
Community Links Scotland employs a qualified media and communications specialist who works with our staff, clients and community groups to prepare leaflets, brochures, questionnaires, posters, newsletters, web sites and any other promotional material required.
By having this resource in house, community groups are able to present their case in a professional, modern manner that attracts attention and reflects well on the community group.
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