Local MSP Annabelle Ewing praised the work of local community councils and highlighted some Strathearn “examples of best practice” in her speech during a debate on the proposed Community Empowerment and Renewal Bill in the Scottish Parliament last week.
She said: “Individuals who are elected to community councils are hard-working representatives of their communities who are dedicated to making a difference. They know and understand their communities well and they bring with them different areas of expertise.
“Community councils should have greater resources in general, including more extensive powers to do the job that they all seek to do.
“There is also a role for all those individuals in communities who are determined to make a difference, but there should not be a competition between different structures of community engagement because that would be counterproductive. Therefore, the minister’s challenge is to find a way forward whereby community councils are helped to maximise their positive role, at the same time as other forms of community participation are encouraged and facilitated.
“Another important part of the consultation looks at unlocking enterprise and community development. That is a subject that is close to my heart since the contract work that I did for some years a while back for the Comrie Development Trust, which is a successful development trust that operates in the village that I am pleased to call my home.
“If an example of best practice in unlocking community potential was ever needed, I submit that Comrie, through not only the development trust but the community council—there are 50 different groups and bodies involved in the community—would be at the top of the tree.
“Underlying all those groups are determined, visionary and indefatigable individuals who have ideas and a wish to see their ideas come to fruition. Those individuals have made an enormous difference in a village with a population of fewer than 2,000 people.”
Ms Ewing went on to give examples of groups such as the Comrie Junior strings which have become established within a year of being mooted. She added: “We need to find a way to bottle that can-do spirit that is present in communities across the length and breadth of Scotland.”