Supporting Communities

Supporting Communities is a programme of work from SCDC that supports community organisations across Scotland to become better organised and improve how they work with and involve their wider communities.

The aim of the programme is to develop stronger organisations that can better address the issues which are important to them and their communities.

As well as working directly with community organisations, we have worked with partner organisations such as community planning partnerships (CPPs) and local authorities who also work with local community organisations. We look at the kinds of support available to community organisations and how this could be improved.

 A key focus of Supporting Communities is disadvantage: how some community organisations face more barriers to achieving their aims than others. These could be groups that are based in areas with higher levels of poverty, or remote rural areas, or groups that represent communities who are more likely to experience discrimination. We work with groups to identify barriers and come up with solutions.

This year’s programme

This year we have been working to strengthen community involvement in local community planning processes. We have also worked with community anchor organisations (development trusts, community-based housing associations, networks and alliances) to support them to take leading roles in community action planning and place-based developments.

Supporting Communities has changed over the five years since it began. In the early stages we worked with individual local groups to help strengthen their activities and further developed this work to support collaborative community development across different areas. Now, we think it’s important to be working with a range of organisations and planning structures to see how we can change the way things work.

Our learning

A key aim of our programme is to learn about what works and what gets in the way of community-led approaches to regenerating our communities. We’ll be publishing detailed learning as we go, but the emerging themes include:

  • The benefits of community action planning as well as the issues around boundaries, timescales, capacity, and alignment with other plans.

  • The importance of strengthening community involvement in community planning, and how this can happen.

  • We’re still in the early stages of our work on place-based approaches, but early indications show that the key issues/challenges are similar for those who are developing community-led place-based approaches i.e. boundaries, timescales, capacity, and control.

Funded by the Scottish Government, Supporting Communities has been running since 2015.


We will be producing more detailed briefings and information about the programme work over the coming months.

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