Focus on more community powers

The conference will focus on delivering a bigger voice to local communities.
The conference will focus on delivering a bigger voice to local communities.

A major conference on delivering more power to local communities will be held in Inverurie today (Thursday).

The top-level meeting, which has been organised by Aberdeenshire Voluntary Action and The Garioch Partnership is targeted at voluntary/community groups and statutory agencies in the North-east.

The keynote speech will be delivered by Marco Biagi, Scottish Government Minister for Local Government and Community Empowerment, and this will be followed by a range of workshops focusing on key aspects of the Community Empowerment Act.

The conference will finish with a question and answer session chaired by Jim Savege, Aberdeenshire Council‘s chief executive, and will have representatives on the panel from the voluntary sector, health, and the Scottish Government.

The act is designed to give more power to local communities, supporting community bodies through the ownership of land and buildings and strengthening their voices in important decisions. It contains a number of reforms to the system of community planning bolstering the role of communities in the process.

Marco Biagi said: “Every community in Scotland is unique. A village in Aberdeenshire can have different needs, issues and priorities to a town in the Borders.

“Our Community Empowerment Act recognises Scotland’s diversity and is a momentous step in our drive to increase participation and involvement in local decision-making.

“By giving people more powers to take over land, buildings and services, communities that may have been excluded in the past can identify the best ways to improve their area and take forward regeneration on their own terms. It is important that communities know and understand that this Act can help them improve their areas.”

The conference will be held in the Kintore Arms Hotel in Inverurie and run from 10am until 4pm.