Community Action Plan | Stratherrick & Foyers Community Trust
Community Action Plan

Your Community Needs You!

Development of Community Action Plan underway.

What is your vision for the future of your Community? What recreational, social and community  facilities would you like to see provided on your doorstep? How do you think the income we are receiving from the wind farms and hydro schemes should be spent?

These, and many, many more, are the questions the residents of the Strath and Foyers will be asked as part of a major consultation process that Stratherrick and Foyers Community Trust has just kicked off. 

A company called Nick Wright Planning has been commissioned to work with the residents of Stratherrick and Foyers to develop a Community Action Plan. This will describe what the community wants to achieve with the funding that flows into the area from the wind farm and hydro schemes. It will build on the CAP that was produced in 2013; working with the people who live in the area to clarify the current problems that should be tackled and the opportunities to improve life in our Community.

Nick Wright Planning, based in Johnstone, is a consortium of experts that specialise in helping communities envision how they want the place where they live to evolve and then setting out the road map that will get them to the destination. The objective is to set out a plan that has the backing of the community. This in turn provides a clear mandate for the Trust on what it has to achieve over the next few years. 

The plan will set out the long-term priorities that the local community and other public and private sector partners can work towards. Nick and his team are committed to avoiding a pie-in-the-sky wish-list by providing a plan that is based on concrete costed actions that have a ten-year plus horizon.

The Trust is currently working with the team to refine the approach which will be based on the following steps: 

Asking you what do you want?....... What kind of community do you want to live in?

What do you want to do?...... Draft a concrete set of costed services and amenities.

How do you want to do it?...... Engage the people living in the area, voluntary organisations and delivery partners, such as The Highland Council, in designing the best way of getting involved in delivering the plan.

Finalise and publish a Community Action plan….. Pulling all the threads together into a comprehensive document that has the support of the community

Nick and his team recognise that the consultation process will be made more difficult by the Covid-19 restrictions and they will use a variety of  techniques to ensure they reach into every corner of the community.

December will be used to plan the consultation process in detail so please watch out for invitations to consultation sessions, which will start to appear in your inbox, on Facebook  and on notice boards in January.

Steps to Develop the Community Action Plan

The development of the Community Action Plan has at its core three key activities that are described below. 

Community Aspirations

The first is to establish the aspirations of the community and the purpose of this stage will be to:

Energise, enthuse and excite about the plan and its potential.

Understand community needs and wants. 

Give every local resident the opportunity to say what they want their community to offer them in the future.

The main activities in this phase will include

Digital platform goes live

Website and social media go live with information about what’s happening and dynamic programme of activity to generate awareness and responses to the ‘survey’ (see 2.2). To be developed with the Trust to ensure alignment with its own website and how the two will come together in the future.

Community ‘survey’

Focus for gathering information about the characteristics of the community, the individual challenges and aspirations of  individuals in an accessible ‘survey’ 

it will not look like a look like a multi-question survey - for example, we will ask  people to draw or write a postcard-from-the-future, imagining their life  in 2040

online and hard copy (using the same question via website, social media and hard copy)

phoning/video conference calling with named people/small groups

Schools

Organise schools activities with teachers - e.g. workbooks, walkabouts

Community networks

Other activities will be detailed in the Engagement Strategy, cascading out through community networks - information, materials and support can be provided to local organisations.

Analyse and share responses / baseline report

Analyse people’s responses - present using graphics, quotes, statistics - share via website and social media

Publish an accessible ‘baseline report’ describing the characteristics of the community (including facts and figures,) the critical issues surfaced by the respondents, their aspirations, and the aspirations of statutory bodies and public policy - to inform the Assembly’s deliberations

Compare the challenges and aspirations against the Trust’s current action plan and identify where they complement/conflict.

Community Assembly

The purpose of this stage is to enable people to come together to develop realistic collaborative solutions to the community challenges and aspirations expressed, in other words, to move from challenges (what we want to improve), aspirations (‘where we want to get to’) to action (‘how we will get there’.)

Ideally it would be face to face (e.g. in the Trust’s marquee or the Wildside Centre) to enable better discussion, because people need to be able to share perspectives and discuss solutions. 

We have called this the Community Assembly’ to reflect the idea of a citizen’s assembly: a gathering of the local community and others who can help implement solutions (such as the local authority and other public bodies), to come together for informed facilitated discussion to agree collaborative solutions.  Collaboration is important, because many of the strategic challenges and aspirations that we will be looking to address will need action from a range of stakeholders including residents, community organisations, landowners, businesses and public services.

The overall programme anticipates the Assembly taking place over a period of 4-6 weeks in Spring 2021.  If COVID-19 restrictions are still in place, this may necessitate the bulk of the Assembly’s discussions taking place online.  More details on how this might look are contained in Appendix C.

The tasks outlined below are cross-referenced to the programme in section 3, and will be worked up in more detail during Stage 2 (Task 2.7; see also Appendix C for more details):

Opening session

Share information on community challenges, aspirations, local facts and figures, and public policy aspirations

Share high level financial information in order that the community has a good sense of what is affordable

Co-create a community vision statement / plan / graphic

Action workshops

Separate workshop sessions for each action area in the vision

Smaller group discussions with a clear focus on agreeing realistic strategic actions and route maps to deliver their part of the vision

Additional stakeholders who could assist delivery can be invited to join (e.g. local estates, local authority, Community Planning Partners)

Groups may need to meet more than once over a period of 4-6 weeks

Discussions will consider how to align with other relevant plans and agendas, e.g. Community Planning Partners (CPP), Forestry Commission, Health & Social Care etc; and how to tackle cross-cutting issues like rural inequality, disadvantage and factors such as in-work poverty, impact of rural economy, health and wellbeing, childcare and transport 

Closing session

Agree basic contents of the draft Community Action Plan (vision, priority actions and route maps), sufficient for more detail to be worked up as project sheets in the Community Action Plan itself and then in further detail by delivery groups

Explore scope to co-produce the plan and website with local people

Community Action Plan

The purpose of this stage is to prepare the Community Action Plan for PDF and online publication, based on the vision, priority actions and route maps agreed at the Community Assembly. 

Draft the plan

Summary/evidence of community challenges and aspirations 

Community vision and strategy (including a spatial plan and graphics, so the Community Action Plan can be registered by Highland Council as a Local Place Plan)

Priority actions (each with a project sheet describing the proposals, high level costs, deliver partners and roles, routemap with action steps, risks)

Twenty year financial plan that shows the revenue required, the sources (including income from amenities), the costs and the  cash flow assumptions to enable the Action Plan

A  psychosocial and economic benchmarking framework that will be used to measure the outcomes of the plan over a five year timescale

Future delivery arrangements, community engagement, monitoring, governance

Finalise the plan

Review and agree final content that will include rationale for actions agreed, a project plan and the financial plan

Opportunity to check in with delivery partners mentioned in the plan

Publish and share the plan

PDF/report format, with short graphic summary version if required

Website - visual explanation of the plan with interactive sections based on the vision and priority actions, with delivery updates and comment spaces to further develop ideas (e.g. www.lauristonfarm.scot and www.ardrishaig.net)

Document how the CAP website and the Trust website merge. in order to provide online support for the implementation of the action plan 

Share with community and stakeholders

Delivery arrangements

Document a pragmatic view of how the Action Plan will be delivered;  the role of the Trust, the directors, its manager, action groups and statutory bodies 

Action groups to take forward plan delivery (likely to evolve from the action workshops at the Assembly), including bringing groups together for initial meetings to progress the action priorities in the plan and refine the actions where necessary

Scope future support required from community organisations, public bodies, landowners and businesses to deliver the plan (including capacity, resources, governance, partnership working)

Signpost community organisations to sources of relevant further information and support, and broker knowledge exchange with organisations in other parts of the country

Progress monitoring and review framework

Simple plan and collaborative arrangements for keeping an eye on progress, reporting successes back to the community, and updating the plan in future years as circumstances move on

Delivery

Once the plan is complete, the focus will shift completely to delivery - practical steps to realise the plan.  This should not be a shock transition, as we will have been discussing delivery throughout the whole process: it is embedded in the guiding principles in section 2.

 

The aim at this stage is for those who will be delivering projects in the plan to take forward their individual projects and work together collaboratively.  This may include the Trust, other community organisations, landowners, businesses and the public sector.  Different levels of advice or support may be needed depending on each organisation’s project, needs and role.  The purposes are essentially to facilitate, support, encourage and troubleshoot delivery of the plan.

The Three Steps

For the very latest news Nick and his team have created a dedicated website to enable them to talk directly to the community. To go the site now click on this link:

https://www.communityfuture.net/

Guiding Principles

The Trust directors have worked with Nick Wright and his team to develop a set of principles that will guide the development of the plan. They are listed below and these will be updated by the Steering Committee to ensure they reflect the principles that are important to the community.

Plan Content

  1. Strategic long-term perspective: the CAP will have a 20-year strategic perspective, containing actions with positive long-term impacts for the future of the whole community.
  2. The plan can cover anything important for the future of the community, as long as it is credible and important for the long-term future of the community as a whole.  That could be anything from physical development to emotional support, for example. A benchmarking tool will be developed that will enable the measurement of not just outputs but critical psychosocial outcomes too.
  3. The plan will reflect community aspirations and national priorities: the plan will be guided by community aspirations, whilst also reflecting established national priorities like climate change, health and wellbeing. 
  4. The plan will include a deep insight into the opportunities and challenges faced by the community to provide a context from which solutions (that have not been surfaced by an exploration of the community’s ‘aspirations’) can be developed.
  5. Action and delivery focus: the plan will not stop at ideas, aspirations and themes.  It will contain credible prioritised actions with high level costs and detailed route maps for delivery. It will be based on a set of project sheets that will underpin a ten-year financial masterplan.
  6. The plan should be ‘owned’ by the whole community, not the Trust: the plan should be the whole community’s plan.  The Trust role is to facilitate preparation of the plan and support delivery of its actions.
  7. The plan should give equal attention to the physical and emotional: ensuring it addresses both the physical infrastructure and emotional wellbeing of the community.

Plan Preparation

  1. Everyone in the local community should be able to shape the plan: preparation of the plan, from aspirations to actions, should be open and accessible to everyone locally, whatever their age, income or ability - particularly less frequently heard voices, like younger or disabled people, who should have safe spaces to engage.
  2. Start with aspirations, move quickly to action: preparing the plan will start with a conversation with the local community about its long term challenges and aspirations - and move quickly to exploring affordable deliverable solutions.
  3. A positive response to COVID-19 lockdown: facilitating community engagement during lockdown restrictions is both a challenge and an opportunity.  The engagement process will have a strong online presence to reach out widely across the community, whilst also making efforts to involve those who aren’t online.   
  4. Local context: the plan is not starting from scratch - it will build on existing commitments and projects drawing from those set out in the Trust’s 2013 community action plan,  and the community, public and private sectors. It will be sensitive to capacity and resources for delivering action. 
  5. An open, living process: the content of the plan will evolve publicly, with the flow from community aspirations to collaborative action clearly communicated. 
  6. The plan will be live and accessible to everyone: the agreed plan will be easy to understand, posted online and regularly updated.
  7. Learning from elsewhere: understanding and adapting relevant ideas and experience from other people and places who have been down the same road.
  8. Standards: community engagement will be designed and delivered in accordance with the Scottish Government National Standards for Community Engagement and PAS SP=EED guidance for community engagement in planning (Level 3).

Plan Delivery

  1. Delivering the plan will be a shared responsibility: residents, community organisations, businesses, landowners and public authorities will all be encouraged and supported to contribute to delivering the CAP.

The plan will be a tool to guide future community action, public services and private investment: the plan will be a useful tool for any organisation investing or delivering services in the area, to guide their future plans and activities.

First Meeting of the Steering Group

The first Steering Group meeting was held on Thursday January 21st on Zoom and below is a note of the meeting.

Introduction

The meeting was introduced by Kirsty Balfour and Gareth Jones, Stratherrick and Foyers Community Trust chair and vice-chair respectively. They briefly explained why the Trust wanted to support preparation of a community-led action plan, and why a neutral team (represented at this meeting by Nick Wright, Paul Nelis, Neil Fergusson and Luke Fallow) had been engaged to facilitate the process with the local community and produce the plan. The rest of the meeting was facilitated by Nick and the team, and began with a brief introduction from each member of the Steering Group.

Participants

Zoom Call Screen with Participants

Attendees from the Steering Group:

  • Kirsty Balfour (S&FCT)
  • Jayne Brinkworth
  • Morag Cameron
  • Alex Coombs
  • Jennie Devlin
  • Sophie Fallon
  • Peter Faye
  • Sharon Ferguson
  • Catriona Fraser (S&FCT)
  • Helen Grainger
  • Jan Hargreaves
  • Gareth Jones (S&FCT)
  • Bella Kilgannon
  • Anna Low
  • Eneas Mackintosh
  • Bob Main
  • Paula Page
  • Lesley Renton
  • Lyn Woods

Steering Group who sent apologies or are corresponding members:

  • Katie Etherington
  • Jeremy Finnis
  • Jenny McCallum
  • Lindsay McNaughton
  • Stuart McPherson

Facilitation team:

  • Luke Fallow
  • Neil Fergusson
  • Paul Nelis
  • Nick Wright

 

Community Action Planning

Nick and team provided a brief explanation of Community Action Planning and the process over the coming months.  There will be 3 main stages of community engagement (timings are approximate due to COVID, this is an extra diagram prepared since the meeting): 

Three Steps

For more information, please see Questions & Answers on the Community Trust website.

Participant GroupsThe diagram on the right shows the various groups of participants anticipated during the Community Action Planning process, with the local community at the heart of the process and other stakeholders (examples only) invited to support planning and delivery as appropriate.

During discussion, points were made that community engagement needs to reach the whole community (including young people and others), and should offer non-online options for people to contribute and get involved.

The chart below shows the outline programme of tasks to prepare the Plan, including the three consultation stages shown on the previous page.  The four anticipated Steering Group meetings are indicated in red:

Action Plan

The images below show a 2-page summary of another Community Action Plan, as an example of strategy and projects that emerged through a similar process elsewhere.  Stratherrick and Foyers will have different priorities and projects, and the full plan document will have far more detail (including mini action plans and outline costs for each priority or project).

Role of the Steering Group

The role of the Steering Group was explained in the original invitation email, and was summarised during the meeting with the diagram below:

To be clear: being on the Steering Group does not mean that you forfeit the ability to take part in the three stages of community engagement to prepare the Community Action Plan, in the same way as any other member of the local community (see diagram on page 2).

The facilitation team is keen that the Steering Group represents a good cross-section of the local community.  There was some discussion in the meeting of gaps in membership - including:

young people - we will contact local schools and relevant Steering Group members.

schools Parent Councils - we are pursuing these.

green/environmental interests - the Green Team has been invited.

estates/farming (already represented in the Steering Group membership but were unable to come to the first meeting)

It was also suggested during the meeting that the Trust’s new manager Tony Foster might be a good addition when he starts in March 2021, to support the ‘delivery’ side of the process. 

The facilitation team, with help from Kirsty and Gareth in the Trust, is taking steps to fill each of the gaps, and will be in touch with those of you who kindly offered to help.  Please let Nick, Kirsty or Gareth know if you have recommendations of potential additional members.

Community Themes

To get a flavour of the issues and aspirations likely to come up when we start community engagement, the Steering Group was asked in the meeting what themes were likely to emerge. 

The discussion included:

  • Environment and landscape quality
  • Tourism, camping and camper
  • Activities and opportunities for young people
  • Affordable housing
  • Getting around the local community and to/from Fort Augustus and Inverness, particularly for younger and older people
  • Business space
  • Broadband
  • Use of forestry land
  • Safe provision for cycling, especially for young people

Other issues have been raised since the meeting - to add more, please reply to this Comment:

  • Health and wellbeing
  • Community wind/hydro power to reduce household bills and be more green
  • Sports facilities
  • Help to buy Bikes
  • Green spaces
  • Community woodland
  • Create employment
  • Opportunities for young adults to work abroad doing charity work/education
  • Rumble strips coming in and out of Whitebridge to slow down traffic
  • Provision of vehicle charging points at strategic locations in the area
  • Speed limit reductions through villages

What shall we call the Community Action Plan process?

“Stratherrich and Foyers Community Action Plan” isn’t going to engage the people we really want to engage locally - those who wouldn’t normally get involved in this kind of activity.  What should we call it?

To stimulate discussion, some initial ideas of names and graphic branding were suggested in the meeting by the facilitation team.  Initial name ideas are on the right.

Steering Group responses included:

Better to use “Our Community” rather than “Stratherrick and Foyers”, to avoid excluding folk.

To define the area, use a map and/or graphic naming the main villages (e.g. Foyers, Inverfarigaig, Torness, Errogie, Gorthleck, Whitebridge).

Emphasise the ‘future’ aspect. 

Another suggestion made after the meeting was to use ‘Boleskine’. 

Two initial ideas of graphic branding were shown in the meeting too (see thumbnails below; for larger versions, click on each image, then ‘Open Source’).  Responses included:

Images of local places, e.g. landscapes, could be useful.

A map of the area or graphic with the names of all main local villages could be useful.

Graphics should be informal, snappy and accessible.

Please tell us....

Whether or not you came to the meeting, we’d like to ask you which aspect of community life you’re most passionate about.  We’d also like your quick feedback on the meeting, so we can make subsequent meetings as rewarding and useful as possible.

Please click here to answer 5 quick questions.  If you’ve already answered these from the link in the email, there’s no need to answer then again.

Keep an eye on your inbox over the next fortnight for a couple of short emails asking you about:

Options for the Community Action Plan name and branding that we’re preparing.

Important local groups and businesses - so we can map who does what across the community.

The big challenges and opportunities for the community.

‘Seldom-heard’ voices in the local community.

Appendix 1: Transcript of Zoom Chat

20:06:26 From Jayne  to Everyone : how will you enable the element of the community who do not have good access or use IT
20:08:08 From Paul Nelis SCDC to Everyone : Hi Jayne we have plans to use postcards and other tangible elements to get people's views
20:08:31 From Paul Nelis SCDC to Everyone : tangible
20:22:33 From Neil Fergusson (ICA) to Everyone : We’ll have a dedicated website too for the process that we’ll use throughout the engagement.
20:35:20 From Jennie Devlin to Everyone : sometimes I get the impression that the litter, dirty camping and increased road traffic cause some in the area to feel negative about the increasing tourism. But we need tourism. so anything that can improve these situations...
20:35:38 From anna low to Everyone : I agree Jennie
20:35:50 From Helen Grainger to Everyone : yes
20:35:58 From Nick Wright to Everyone : Thanks Jennie
20:35:59 From anna low to Everyone : and we know with lockdown ….. that much of the problems weren't caused by tourists
20:36:10 From Jennie Devlin to Everyone : yes Anna
20:43:38 From Jennie Devlin to Everyone : The 'Stratherrick and foyers futures' resonates with me. Futures being the important part especially if we are thinking about the younger generations as a core part of our concerns.
20:44:15 From Jennie Devlin to Everyone : do we need a new name for the area???????
20:44:57 From Alex Barry to Everyone : Could community, highlighting unity be used?
20:49:40 From Helen Grainger to Everyone : south lochness
20:50:33 From Jennie Devlin to Everyone : where does south loch ness include? I wondered the same...
20:50:48 From anna low to Everyone : that would include Dores too
20:50:51 From Sharon Ferguson to Everyone : It also includes Dores
20:50:51 From Jennie Devlin to Everyone : ahhh
21:04:23 From Neil Fergusson (ICA) to Everyone : Thanks everyone. Great to meet you all!

What you wanted in 2013

The last Community Action Plan was compiled in 2013. It was based around the following themes; Wealthier and Fairer, Healthier, Safer and Stronger, Smarter and Greener. A summary of what the community wanted within these categories is as follows:

Wealthier and Fairer

Economic Growth and Recovery

Most respondents wanted to see regeneration of the area as a whole, coming up with good ideas to provide a more progressive and vibrant community

Employment

Ideas for local employment could come from suggested business development

e.g. apprenticeships with the Forestry Commission and British Waterways, Jobs for young people to retain them in the area. Improved Broadband would allow on- line businesses to be established.

Healthier

Deprivation/Health inequalities and Physical Activity Older People and Early years

In the Highland area, between 2008 – 2023, the population is expected to continue to age, with a 60% increase in the 65 to 74 age group and a 122% increase in the 75+ age group. In view of this there is a definite need for developments in and improvements to the current provision for older people. Many of the comments in the survey called for improved services i.e. home help carers, provision of a handyman service and gardening assistance for older people. Care in the Community featured regularly throughout the surveys, with suggestions being made for Day Care Centres, Sheltered Housing and Community Transport schemes to ease the isolation of older and disabled people.

Indoor sports facilities including a swimming pool and gym were seen as a way to provide opportunities for people to get fit and stay that way. This would be of benefit for all age groups and abilities. For those prepared to brave the elements, existing sports groups include Stratherrick Athletic Club, a group formed for interested runners and joggers, Stratherrick Clay Target Club and Boleskine Shinty club. Glenlia Residents Community Association are also working to improve the Glenlia playpark and providing opportunities for the younger members of the community to enjoy outdoor recreation.

Safer and Stronger

Safer, Stronger and Reducing Offending

Responses to the survey on the whole did not highlight issues over safety in the area with the exception of poor mobile coverage in emergency situations; this was particularly relevant in the case of road traffic accidents. Respondents also mentioned the issue of single track roads and poor driving, unfortunately there were no solutions suggested to this problem.

Smarter

Community Development/Learning/Capacity

There were many suggestions for training including e.g. first aid courses, courses for unemployed/underemployed, help with technology and a variety of training options for local clubs

Respondents requested faster broadband in order to allow access to online courses and enable older people to decrease the problem of isolation by learning how to use IT equipment.

Greener

Environment

The Greener has many suggestions from community poly tunnels to renovation of bridges and the pier.

For the full report please click on the file you can see in the Project Documents.

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