Glaswegians, community groups, organisations and entrepreneurs are being offered the opportunity to play a greater role in the delivery and management of local services, buildings and facilities, to better meet the changing needs of their neighbourhoods, as part of Glasgow’s mission to empower communities.
The call to action will use the city’s world famous brand to encourage expressions of interest from organisations and groups across Glasgow. This work builds on the strong foundation of the City Charter in its aims to give more control to people and communities over the important decisions that affect their lives.
The People Make Glasgow Communities programme will encourage the people who know, use and are passionate about their local resources to make them more relevant and accessible to everyone in the local community.
Buildings and the services they host, sports pitches and community facilities are among the options that people across the city can now become more involved in operating and managing.
Councillor David McDonald, Depute Leader of Glasgow City Council, said: “Throughout the last year we have seen thousands of acts of community spirit that have ranged from people helping neighbours and friends in need, to supporting key workers, to pilot schemes in which local groups and organisations have stepped in and helped venues and facilities open again.
“The aim of this call-out is to identify new opportunities to support the city’s social recovery and to find radical and creative approaches to community empowerment. Glasgow’s communities, and the people who care deeply about the places they live in, will be at the heart of our city’s renewal from the Covid-19 pandemic.
“Current best practice shows community services which are locally managed and delivered are the most successful in meeting community needs. This is an open call for individuals, groups, organisations and businesses to take part in delivering local projects, venues and services which they love and benefit from, in their neighbourhoods and communities.”
Infrastructure experts, the Scottish Futures Trust (SFT) is supporting the initiative. The company’s ‘place’ team is providing Glasgow City Council with additional expertise; helping it look at how the buildings it uses are best placed to deliver joined up services, achieve better outcomes for communities, secure efficiencies and savings, and provide leverage for economic growth.
Diarmaid Lawlor, Associate Director – Place, Scottish Futures Trust, said: “We are delighted to support this ambitious and innovative approach to engaging with communities. We need everyone’s support to find new ways of remodelling and delivering services so they meet the needs of our city as it recovers from the pandemic. We can’t know what this new landscape will look like yet, but it is great to begin the journey with a collective effort from organisations, groups and individuals.”
Glasgow Council for the Voluntary Sector (GCVS) is also working alongside Glasgow City Council to deliver the People Make Glasgow Communities programme. As the main development agency and advocate for voluntary and community organisations in Glasgow and one of the largest councils for the voluntary sector in the UK, GCVS will be supporting local community groups, voluntary organisations and social enterprises who wish to take on the running of venues and services in their local area.
Ian Bruce, Chief Executive of Glasgow Council for the Voluntary Sector, said: “This is an innovative and exciting initiative, with Glasgow City Council leading the way for Scotland in empowering communities to play a greater role in the venues and services that matter to them. Our members – community groups, voluntary organisations and social enterprises – now have a real opportunity to step up and demonstrate the change that is possible.”
Earlier this year, the Scottish Government’s Social Renewal Advisory Board published a report calling for the public sector to give more control to people and communities over the decisions that affect their lives, and for the public sector and other partners to improve service delivery and design by empowering both teams and the people and communities they serve.
It also called on the public sector and other partners to build on new ways of working, based on what has worked well during the pandemic, and to develop new arrangements for local governance, best suited to the communities they serve; building stronger, more resilient, fairer and healthier communities, which meet social, climate and economic equity requirements.
Since the start of 2020, several community organisations and sports clubs in Glasgow have already become involved in pilot projects to explore new ways of delivering community services. These include Stepford Sports Complex, Nethercraigs and Springburn. The combined benefit of these pilots is that it is allowing many young people to keep playing sport.
These new partnerships will draw on a tradition of community activism and engagement in Glasgow which can be traced back to the 19th century and continues to this day.
Councillor McDonald added: “Community activism and pioneering approaches to public services have always been the Glasgow way. There is genuine pride and belief in the city brand, People Make Glasgow, which is reflected in how the city is viewed around the world. Giving people a stake in the services intended for and delivered in their local area is an opportunity for us all to be involved in making our communities stronger and better for everyone.”
Pollok United has been one of the football clubs involved in pilot projects across the city, helping to keep pitches at Glasgow Club Nethercraigs open for use.
The club’s Development Manager, Andy Elliott, said: “The logistics of running a project like the Community Activation pilot would be complex enough in any normal year, but as a result of the pandemic we’ve faced the added challenge of having to manage everything remotely and online. It’s a credit to everyone involved that the project has gone so well and that’s really due to the great relationship we have with Glasgow Life.
“Our joint effort to keep Nethercraigs open has worked fantastically well, especially as the local kids have been itching to get outside and have a kick-about. Once restrictions are eased further, we’re looking forward to more people from Greater Pollok and Cardonald being able to enjoy full use of these brilliant facilities again.”
If you’re interested in getting involved with the People Make Glasgow Communities programme, or would like to find out more, please visit: www.glasgow.gov.uk/communities from Friday 26 February.