Dunbar Community Development Group

The Group
Established in 1997 Dunbar Community Development Company has, as part of its aims:

"to promote the benefit of the inhabitants of Dunbar and environs by associating the residents, churches and voluntary organisations, educational and local authorities in a common effort to advance welfar and education ..."

What were they trying to achieve?
The group were keenly aware that the local economy had changed significantly over recent years with a decline in the traditional areas of farming, fishing and tourism.  The town had also seen a growth in population with the creation of a number of housing developments.

As a consequence the group were keen to investigate the impact of these changes, to explore people's views about the quality of life in their community and to gether ideas about how it could be improved.

How did they go about it?
The group recruited and trained 6 local adults and 6 school students in a range of action research techniques.  They then used these techniques to engage with 700 local people asking them about:

  • what they liked and disliked about living in Dunbar
  • their ideas for making Dunbar better in the future
  • their ideas for making the High Street better
  • their ideas regarding the need of young people

What did they learn?
That people valued the local leisure facilities, schools and a sense of community.  Problems were identified as being:

  • lack of support for young people
  • anti-social behaviour
  • transport in terms of cost and frequency of service
  • the appearance of the High Street and a limited variety of shops

What difference did it make?
The group were able to present their findings to the community, local organisations, councillors and representatives of East Lothian Council at a public meeting.  Subsequently the group have established a Youth Trust to take forward the identified needs of young people and, at the same time, work has begun to establish the priorities of older residents.

As part of their research the group made a short film about their survey which can be viewed at http://www.dunbar.org.uk/.

Jo McNamara
Countess Centre
EH42 1DX
T:  01368 863484
E:  jmcnamara@eastlothian.gov.uk