Places for people, by people

Local places are best known by the people who live and work there. 

It's essential that the knowledge, experience and needs of local people play an active role in planning change and improvement in a place.

The community empowerment and participation agenda has grown hugely in Scotland in recent years and local people have been at the forefront of driving positive change in communities across Scotland.  Community groups can often access support from the public sector, but the Third Sector plays a crucial role in enabling communities to participate and lead change in their areas.  

The third sector includes charities, social enterprises and voluntary groups, and is often involved in delivering essential services, improving wellbeing and contributing to local economic opportunity. 

Below are a few examples of some of the tools, organisations and opportunities that can support communities and the third sector to improve outcomes in their local areas.

The Scottish Government has more information on communities and the third sector here.

Click here for more information and suggestions of where to search for funding for community projects.


Empowering people to take an active role in shaping these places is good for the physical place as well as helping to develop a positive social environment

Community empowerment can take many forms. It can range from good engagement processes through to communities purchasing and operating buildings and providing services themselves.

By being part of the process, local people can feel empowered to make further changes in their places, building a positive cycle of local action and community cohesion.

Learn more about empowering communities


Engaging effectively means including all parts of a community.

Our communities are diverse, with a range of ages, backgrounds and abilities and it's essential that everyone has a meaningful opportunity to help shape their local area. Good, inclusive engagement is a great way to make sure that any changes get things right first time and build in benefits for everyone.

Find out more about engaging everyone here

The Third Sector

Scotland's third sector plays a vital role in supporting communities to take action and improve outcomes at a local level. This can include opportunities for people to volunteer in their local area.

Read more about the third sector

Communities Channel Scotland

The newly refreshed Communities Channel Scotland is a place where community groups can find information, ideas and inspiration to help them achieve their aims.

It does this by highlighting useful resources, providing accessible guides to relevant policy and sharing great examples of community groups in action.

Communities Channel Scotland has been developed by Scottish Community Development Centre (SCDC) with funding from the Scottish Government.

PB is an expanding area across Scotland and the PB Scotland site contains a wealth of information on Participatory Budgeting and ways to get involved.

Access the Communities Channel Scotland here

Local Place Plans

Local Place Plans offer communities the opportunity to develop proposals for their local area, expressing their aspirations and ambitions for future change.

Learn more about Local Place Plans

Community Councils

Community councils play an important role in helping to develop and maintain the positive qualities of a local place.

They are local, voluntary organisations made up of members of the community who act on behalf of people in the local area.

Find out more about community councils

Community Ownership

Communities can take an active role in providing services and local facilities in their local areas through community ownership of buildings and land.

Support is available to help communities make sense of asset transfer and the opportunities to provide local services and shape a positive future.

Access information on community ownership

Participatory Budgeting

Participatory budgeting (PB) is a way for people to have a direct say in how local money is spent.

PB can take many forms but typically it will involve ideas being generated about how money can be spent in a local area; people the voting on the ideas and; the ideas with the most votes being funded.

PB is an expanding area across Scotland and the PB Scotland site contains a wealth of information on Participatory Budgeting and ways to get involved.

Access the PB Scotland site here