Community Capacity Building

...supporting communities to be skilled, influential and sustainable


Watch: What is Community Capacity Building? 


SCDC understands community capacity building (CCB) as one of the ‘twin pillars' of community development.  The other pillar is community engagement. Most of the beneficial changes in communities come about through the process of engagement, whereby communities are able to respond to opportunities, or deal with problems, by bringing them to the attention of those with the ability to respond and carrying out agreed plans of action.

But such engagement cannot take place unless the community has the capacity and the recognition required to engage in such discussions. Also, the most excluded groups and communities are most often the ones with the least capacity to do so. Communities with capacity are confident, organised, cohesive and influential, and mean that community members are likely to enjoy a better quality of life. This means they can deal more effectively with public bodies to come up with solutions to problems or opportunities; that they can do more to set up and run projects or initiatives, and that they can encourage people to support each other.

A good working definition of CCB is:

"Activities, resources and support that strengthen the skills, abilities and confidence of people and community groups to take effective action and leading roles in the development of communities" (Strengthening Communities, S Skinner, CDF publications, 2006)

Building community capacity is one of the three national priorities for community learning and development in Scotland and SCDC supports this in a number of ways.

Current work


  • Building Stronger Communities was developed by SCDC as a practical assessment and planning tool for community capacity building in Scotland.  This is an important new resource for practitioners and planners working within a range of sectors to help make Scotland's communities better places to live.
  • SCDC produced a guide to some of the resources available for good practice in CCB on behalf of the Scottish Government - Building Community Capacity - A Guide (pdf, 0.5Mb)
  • A short version is published on the Scottish Government website - Building Community Capacity - An Introductory Guide (pdf, 0.3Mb)
  • SCDC have produced a set of 7 educational resources on sustainable development for community organisations called Community Action for a Sustainable Scotland.  These were adapted under creative commons licencing from resources produced as part of the Every Action Counts programme in England.


Training and development workshops

SCDC can provide development workshops on community capacity building to interested organisations.  Their intended audience and content is described below.

Training and development workshop sessions to help organisations with the following:

  • Planning a Community Capacity Building Strategy
  • Achieving Community Change
  • Effective Community Organisations
For more information on SCDC training and resources on community capacity building, please contact Susan Paxton (, Stuart Hashagen ( or David Allan (