What is a Community Development Trust?
Community Development Trusts are community ‘anchor’ organisations, delivering services and facilities, finding solutions to local problems and helping other organisations and initiatives succeed. They undertake a mixture of economic, environmental and social initiatives. Development Trusts are community orientated groups (large & small, rural & urban), which are independent of local or central government. There are currently hundreds of CDTs across Scotland, which get involved in a variety of community-focussed projects throughout the country. Their overall goal is to enrich the experience of their area, help neighbourhoods to flourish and to engage the community in the process of taking ideas forward.
Why has Lochwinnoch now got one?
Why not?! Lochwinnoch has plenty of community projects a LCDT could support. A historical village, with approx. 2,500 residents and a variety of local interest groups, sites of scientific interest, on the edge of a regional park, hosting a bird sanctuary, with many young families, older residents and everyone in between.. we need a LCDT! In addition, we have a host of natural resources which, if put to good use, could financially enrich the community of the village as well as lead us, collectively, towards a more ethical and sustainable future.
An example of one of our resources is the water table, currently situated under the old Struthers lemonade factory. Studies have shown that if put to good use, this resource could come into community ownership and could generate anywhere between £40k-£200k every year, for community projects.
What is the Development Trust Association Scotland? (DTAS)
DTAS is a membership organisation which supports community organisations throughout the country. Over 240 organisations are currently members (with a combined turnover of £50m.. all going to local causes!). A representative from DTAS spoke at the last LCDT meeting and said we are unique in Scotland with our “community owned” water proposal and it should, in theory, be a great, lucrative asset to our community. (..The Man from DTAS says “Yes!”). As a member of DTAS, LCDT will have access to their expertise and guidance in the areas of governance, organisational development, financial planning, asset transfer, community ownership, and community shares.
How will LCDT generate income?
That, ultimately, is up to the members of the LCDT and the people of Lochwinnoch village. The main, current proposal (recommended by the Struthers Water Action Group) is to extract water from the old Struthers site (by means of a new borehole, situated away from the upcoming Turnberry housing development). How this is extracted and where, is up for discussion. As is who we sell the water to and how much we stand to make as a village from the sale of “our Winnoch Water”.
Built the water scheme may not be the only income generator for LCDT.
In general CDT are “community based and they aim to achieve their goals by making profits through trading, providing services and acquiring assets (such as buildings and equipment). Their profits are used to create community wealth that has a lasting impact on the renewal and improvement of an area.” (from a DTAS guide)
Where will the money be spent?
Again, this is up to the people of the village of Lochwinnoch and the members of the LCDT. If we are successful in the water extraction scheme, we will need to pay back initial investment costs and we will inevitably have running costs, but it is hoped that after the first few years we should have a substantial return on investment which could directly support the village.
For example.. other CDTs fund the following projects: enhanced public spaces, recreational facilities, health and wellbeing initiatives, community growing schemes, active transport options, job creation schemes, preservation and enhancement of the local environment, running community shops / pubs / woodlands etc.. the list goes on.
How can people get involved?
Community support is an essential component of a development trust. LCDT is brand new (incorporated Dec 2018) and currently needs new members, with opinions, ideas, skills and positivity! If you are interested in getting involved, become a member.