ACE Guide to Achieving Community Empowerment

Background and context


Strong, active communities are a vital part of a healthy nation. They provide the foundations that a successful economy can be built on, and an environment in which people can lead fulfilling and healthy lives. A community that works well is both strong and energetic. It builds and supports networks and connections that help bring people together to:

  • provide care and support;
  • organise celebrations;
  • set up and run local projects;
  • represent common interests; and
  • where necessary, campaign for change.

Hundreds of community groups and organisations do all these things and more throughout Scotland, from very small informal groups to large organisations.

With all this in mind, the Achieving Community Empowerment process is intended to help community groups and organisations become more confident, better organised and more effective in achieving their aims. Throughout, we will use the term ‘community group’ to include all the groups, organisations, networks and other arrangements that are rooted in communities and work for the benefit of communities.

This guide has been developed as part of the Achieving Community Empowerment (ACE) programme funded by the Big Lottery Fund, and delivered by the Scottish Community Development Centre.

The ACE process guides community groups, and those who work with them, through a critical review of their roles, relationships and ambitions so that they can be as effective as possible in achieving their aims and improving their communities. It should help community groups take the appropriate steps to become more effective. As such, this guide will be helpful for community workers and others who want to encourage stronger and more active communities.

This is the online version of the ACE Guide. You can also download a printable PDF version here.  

Next: How ACE works