Community Capacity Building by HC120401001453


									             Discussion Paper: Community Capacity Building

                    Rural Strategic Development Group

1. Introduction

This paper attempts to give a broad overview for discussion on capacity
building, which as a term, has become a buzzword for organisations across all
sectors and covers an increasingly wide agenda, particularly in relation to the
ethnic minority voluntary sector and its communities. The term has also been
entangled with “community development” and “community engagement”,
which has further led to dilution in measuring the impact and meaning of
“capacity building.”

It is difficult to differentiate between the terms “capacity building,” “community
capacity building,” “community development” and “community engagement,”
as the processes are indeed inter-changeable. This is because ethnic minority
communities themselves form the sector in terms volunteering, managing and
developing community groups and organisations and need capacity building
support to develop their organisations or groups, to engage in civic and
democratic processes, and to influence social policy and decision making
processes. The processes in terms of support are more or less the same,
which includes the upskilling and enabling of ethnic minority communities to
address various social exclusion agendas. Where there are differences are
the harder to reach communities that are either not accessing mainstream or
ethnic minority voluntary sector services or networks, and rural communities
where isolation and geographical spread are at the forefront of barriers to
capacity building. For such communities, more outreach work is needed to
engage in dialogue and support.

There are various definitions of capacity building or community development.
As a starting point, CEMVO Scotland defines capacity building and
community development as:

“Community development is assisting people to work out where they want to
go; capacity building is helping them to get there. It is development work that
strengthens the ability of the community and voluntary organisations and
groups to build their structures, systems, people and skills so that they are
better able to define and achieve their objectives.”

2. The Capacity Building Context

2.1 The Ethnic Minority Voluntary Sector

The Scottish, mainstream voluntary sector is a rapidly growing area of society,
with substantial, but still inadequate, amount of funds and other resources
becoming available to the sector from private, public and other mainstream
funders. The sector has increasingly become professional, robust,
sophisticated organizations with many managing budgets in excess of

millions. The Sector has become strong, with some becoming national bodies,
and has developed sound organizational and management structures that will
ensure long-term sustainability.

Although the ethnic minority voluntary sector (EMVS) in comparison is
growing even more rapidly, with the majority of organizations and community
groups emerging in the last fifteen to twenty years, they are, compared to the
mainstream voluntary sector, weak, fragmented, and under-resourced, and
additionally, face problems such as institutional racism. The EMVS is also
competing for resources with their white, more experienced, and more
organized counterparts in a situation where funding for the voluntary sector as
a whole is limited. This creates an unfair funding environment, where due to
the early stages of evolution, the EMVS on the whole are inexperienced and
ill-equipped to compete with its white counterpart for resources and finances.
Equally, it does not seem to be attracting new people with the right type of
skills and experience that will help progress and develop the EMVS, while the
skills of people that work within the sector also need to be strengthened so
that they are better able to develop organizational and management
processes. The situation would seem to be worse in rural areas where ethnic
minority groups have great difficulties in organising and upskilling themselves,
which includes accessing mainstream funding.

The minority ethnic voluntary sector, despite is early evolutionary stage, is
already a tired looking sector that lacks vision, direction, and leadership. The
sector is unable to collectively influence social policy due to the lack of
resources, co-operation and co-ordination between organizations that
represent diverse communities and differing agendas, meaning that the sector
is increasingly left behind in terms of economic and social regeneration of
minority ethnic communities. Thus, the sector needs regeneration in terms of
an increase in support and investment in generating new partnerships, new
approaches to capacity building and community engagement and new leaders
that are skilled and articulate and are truly committed to advancing the race
equality agenda for the benefit of the Scottish minority ethnic voluntary sector
and its diverse communities.

There are approximately over 600 ethnic minority organizations and
community groups in Scotland, with up to 75% of them being established
within the last 15-20 years.

Over 45% of minority ethnic organizations and community groups are based
in the West of Scotland, which reflects the size of the minority ethnic
population, as over 50% live in this region, particularly Glasgow. This is
compared to about 30% of the organizations that are based in the East of
Scotland, where over 20% of the minority ethnic communities reside. While
most of the organisations and community groups are based in the central and
urban regions of Scotland, less than 10% are based in rural and remote
areas, which generally lack support from, and contact with, minority ethnic
organisations that have a “national” remit.

Many of these organisations (up to 40%) are community groups that do not
have premises and are operating from people’s homes due to limited
resources – they hire community or sports halls on a regular or periodic basis
to deliver their support services to their members. Some of these
organisations are collecting funds and other resources from their members,
while others are making do with the little resources they have managed to
accumulate from mainstream funders, which is generally under £10,000. This
points to the fact that, in terms of valuing the contribution of the EMVS, there
are some very dedicated people working within the sector that are putting in a
lot of time, effort and energy to provide some basic services to their
communities, and having to put in their own resources along with their time
and commitment in order to exist. This in itself causes problems in working
with or building the capacity of the sector as such community groups rely
heavily on the skills and dedication of such individuals who have other
commitments. Due to this fact, many community groups come and go - some
are inactive and only operate in name - some individuals are involved heavily
in 2 or more community groups – all of this makes working with the sector
problematic as engaging with groups can be extremely difficult and resource
intensive. The EMVS is a constantly changing and evolving one, with new
groups emerging all the time, leading at times to duplication of services to EM
communities, which is often a result of lack of communication, partnership
working and mis-trust within the sector, which again, is attributed mainly to the
lack of funding for the sector, with many groups competing for the same
limited resources.

The resourcing problem is even worse for community groups that are
operating from rural and remote areas in Scotland. They are, without a doubt,
in the most difficult situation; here the communities are so small that they rely
on the support of these groups, but the groups themselves have very little
support and do not know where they can go to get any help or support they
may need. Some of these groups are not even aware of how or where they
can apply to for funds or that they are organisations that can apply for funding.
Where such community groups do not exist, rural ethnic minority communities
lack the skills, knowledge and resources to establish such support for
themselves, and have to rely on mainstream services that are inaccessible to

The second component of the EMVS are independent, minority ethnic led
organisations that have at least one paid member of staff and premises – they
would be defined as “small, medium enterprises” (SMEs), but they, like the
majority of the EMVS, are continually struggling to maintain their core funding,
leading to issues of sustainability. This would make up at least 30% of the
EMVS. Such ethnic minority led SMEs do not exist in rural and remote areas
of Scotland.

The final make up of the EMVS are minority ethnic projects that are set up
and run by white, mainstream voluntary and statutory organisations. There
are an ever-increasing number of minority-ethnic focused projects emerging in
Scotland as part of what are predominantly white organisations. In certain
situations, these projects are headed and led by minority ethnic people, but

technically these projects have difficulties in being considered minority ethnic
organisations in their own rights due to their management and support
structures, which differ from EMVS organisations. However, although minority
ethnic projects run by white organisations are not technically classed as
minority ethnic voluntary organisations in their own right, their work and input
to the sector is valuable and difficult to disentangle from the sector as a

2.2 The strengths and need for an “Ethnic Minority Voluntary Sector”

The EMVS provides front line, invaluable services to minority ethnic
communities at grassroots level where many statutory and mainstream
voluntary organizations fail to provide. Thus, the strengths of the EMVS are:

      Its ability to effectively represent and identify the cultural needs of
       ethnic minority groups
      Its importance in reducing the isolation of minority ethnic individuals
      Its role in providing accessible services that mainstream voluntary and
       public sectors seem unable to provide
      Its experience, expertise, commitment and specialist knowledge of
       working with minority ethnic communities
      Its identity and relationship with minority ethnic communities, which also
       promotes civic and community involvement.

With the strengths, comes the need for the EMVS, as the EMVS has the
ability and affinity to engage positively with diverse communities, which is an
essential vehicle for community engagement or capacity building by statutory,
public and mainstream voluntary agencies.

While regional ethnic minority voluntary organizations can offer good local
connections or knowledge of diverse communities and potential links with
other organizations, national bodies are alternatively, able to provide more co-
coordinated, wider, and representative contact with the EMVS and its

2.3 The need for capacity building of the EMVS

As highlighted, the EMVS are unable to compete with mainstream voluntary
sector and need support, training, and investment from mainstream funders to
help improve the skills of its volunteers and workers so that they are more
able to develop organizational and managerial structures, and in turn, should
lead to increased likelihood of longer-term sustainability. It is through the
strengthening of the EMVS that minority ethnic communities are more able to
be involved in civic society and decision-making processes.

Historically the first generation ethnic minority communities all had to adapt to
the new environment in which they found themselves, hostile receptions often
meant that people were forced to look inward, band together and strengthen

their community ties. This was through social clubs – meeting at friends and
relatives to informal saving schemes (Blackwood 2005). This coupled with a
strong desire to maintain traditional, cultural and religious ties was achieved
through the formation of micro-communities which also allowed them to
overcome the exclusion they faced in terms of services, information and
opportunities afforded to wider society (Iffla 2002). This self-help is an
entrenched symbol of these communities and gave rise to stereotypical views
such as ‘they look after their own’. Traditions, morals and values may become
slightly diluted through the generations but the inequalities, oppressions and
perceptions still remain to a certain extent and cannot be pacified regardless
of the level of assimilation that may take place.

As highlighted, many ethnic minority voluntary organisations and community
groups that exist today often started as community groups or as a small group
of people with similar political stances, religious beliefs or social needs. In
their earlier phases, they did not need formal procedures to fulfil their
purpose, and it is only as these groups began to grow and increasing
demands were put upon them that they expanded and became more
recognizably voluntary organisations. They now needed greater resources in
order to meet the requirements of their communities and in order to acquire
these resources they needed a basic knowledge of the needs of the
administrative and funding system in which they were operating. Whilst some
of the organisations were able to get this information and train themselves to
use it, others, probably the majority, are still struggling. This is an evolving,
perpetual process, as what we find today are increasing numbers of small
community groups that are emerging and are going through a similar process
of evolution as those of larger EM organisations. Thus, there is a need for
capacity building at two levels; firstly, those of the more established
organisations where their organizational and managerial processes have
lagged behind reasonably successful developments in funding, and secondly,
those small community groups that are just starting up and needing capacity
building support to develop their services to their client groups – i.e. what has
been defined as “pre-capacity building.” In the rural and remote areas of
Scotland, pre-capacity building is arguably the predominant need as ethnic
minority communities / groups are widely dispersed and isolated, and need to
be co-ordinated and supported to overcome social, economic and political

Another dimension to capacity building is the inability to secure financial
resources to effect change and address social exclusion, especially for small
ethnic minority community groups. Sustainability and competition for funding
has long been at the forefront of a long list of challenges for the Voluntary
Sector (VS) a whole. The Government’s public service reform and civic
renewal agendas marked a shift in the landscape and funding climate in the
voluntary sector in terms of its role in public service delivery and civic
engagement (Home Office, 2003; HM Treasury, 2002) which has significant
impact on funding, operations, management and capacity building of the VS.
This shift has led to a growth in “contract culture”, that is, service-level
agreements and contracts increasingly become the prevalent form of funding
arrangement whilst core funding and grants are diminishing (Hay et al., 2001).

An unprecedented emphasis is placed on the “social economy sector” which
comprises of Voluntary Sector Organisations (VCOs) and social enterprises
that are income-generating through trading and/or winning contracts in
delivering public services, evident in the Futurebuilders investment (HM
Treasury, 2002; Scottish Executive, 2004a). The rationale is rooted in the
perceived need for VCOs to be more business-like and self-sustainable, in
other words, a move away from their dependency on grant funding.

The implication of this can be seen as two fold. First, contractual funding
arrangements call for greater level of accountability which leads to an
increased demand for VCOs to demonstrate efficient use of resources, the
effectiveness and impact of their services through measurable outputs and
outcomes as well as quality of service, which in turn require more stringent
monitoring, evaluation and reporting to funders. Second is the need for
capacity building in all areas of organisational structures, systems, processes
in order to meet the criteria and requirements set by funders and indeed to
compete with other VCOs.          Issues such as accountability and effective
management practices are not exactly new albeit the stakes are becoming
much higher that the need and obligation for “getting it right” has never been
so crucial for the survival of VCOs. Good organisational capacity and
business-like management are now expected as the norm rather than simply
good practices. Consequently, capacity building has become a top priority for
many VCOs and indeed the funders who fund these organisations.

The ethnic minority voluntary sector experience many of the same difficulties
as their mainstream counterpart albeit at a more acute level, due to the sector
being less well-developed and the discrimination and disadvantages it can
suffer (Chouhan and Lusane, 2004; HM Treasury, 2002; Scottish Executive,
2001). Although the sector is often praised and acknowledged for its
endeavour and unique ability to reach out to grassroots and hard-to-reach
communities in tackling their prevalent disadvantages, it has hitherto been
perceived to lack capacity and sector infrastructure to be a full and equal
partner with the Government and the mainstream voluntary sector in pursuing
the wider political agendas (Home Office, 2001). The need for capacity
building is therefore exacerbated in EMVS, and even more so in the rural and
remote regions of Scotland.

3. Community Capacity Building & Social Capital

Community capacity building as a concept has been widely discussed, with
statutory, public and executive agencies addressing this issue through various
ways, such as developing strategies to identify and contact hard to reach
communities so that they can be empowered, enabled, or up skilled to
address social, economic, civic and political exclusiveness. An important
concept that closely relates to community capacity building however that will
enrich discussion and the development of social policy is the notion of “Social

There are various definitions of social capital, with the following being some

“Whereas physical capital refers to physical objects and human capital refers
to the properties of individuals, social capital refers to connections among
individuals – social networks and the norms of reciprocity and trustworthiness
that arise from the. In that sense, social capital is closely related to what some
have called “civic virtue.” The difference is that social capital calls attention to
the fact that civic virtue is most powerful when embedded in a sense network
of reciprocal social relations. A society of any virtuous but isolated individuals
is not necessarily rich in social capital.” (Putnam 2001)
“Social capital refers to the institutions, relationships, and norms that shape
the quality and quantity of a society’s social interactions…..Social capital is
not just the sum of the institutions which underpin a society – it is the glue that
holds them together.” (The World Bank 1999)

“Social capital consists of the stock of active connections among people: the
trust, mutual understanding, and shared values and behaviours that bind the
members of human networks and communities and make co-operative action
possible.” (Cohen and Prusak 2004)

The basic premise of social capital is that interaction enables people to build
communities, to commit themselves to each other, to share a set of values
and virtues, and to knit the social fabric of our society. Social capital explores
the density of social networks that people are engaged in; the extent to which
they are engaged with others in informal social activities, and their
membership of groups and associations, such as girl / boy scouts, football
teams and community groups, etc. On the wider, international context, the
Olympics and football World Cup are examples of social capital where diverse
nations come together for a sharing of values and ideologies. Social capital
concerns the “bonding” (exclusive) and / or “bridging” (inclusive) nature of
social bonds. The former may be more inward looking and have a tendency to
reinforce exclusive identities and homogenous groups. The latter may be
more outward looking and encompass people across different social divides.
At a contemporary level, Trevor Phillips from the CRE would argue that Britain
is showing a more “bonding” pattern of social capital leading to “ghettosim”,
and that “bridging” social capital is less evident or diminishing, particularly in
relation to the riots between Asian and African communities in England. This
leads to a further dimension of social capital or community capacity building,
which is the increase interaction and understanding of not only ethnic minority
and white communities, but also, between ethnic minority communities. The
events of 7/7 in London and subsequent “Islamophobia” also create another
dimension to the social capital debate, leading to increase need for social

The assessment of social capital within a Scottish rural context would be an
interesting one. All the signs at this stage would point more towards “bonding”
rather than “bridging” capital, as evidenced by the attitude towards “outsiders”
being prevalent, not only of ethnic minority communities, but other
communities also. However, this would also hold true for other regions of
Scotland, where there is strong “bonding” rather than “bridging” within
homogeneous and ethnic minority groups. This “bonding” would seemingly
extend towards the provision of services – for example, white organisations
provide services that are more accessible to the “homogeneous” population
while many ethnic minority organisations provide services that are more
accessible for certain ethnic minority communities over and above others,
depending on the composition of their staff and board members.

The idea of social capital extending to firms and organisations is an
interesting area, and one that reflects institutional discrimination.
Organisations are generally seen as an entity, of a mechanistic and system
orientated structure, but organisational activities are masked by their deeply
social nature, where social bonding rather than bridging is prevalent. This
largely leads to the economic and social exclusion of certain groups within
society, including ethnic minority communities, no matter how “capacity built”
they are.

In essence, the act of joining and being regularly involved in organised groups
has a very significant impact on individual health and wellbeing. Working so
that people may join groups – whether they are organised around
enthusiasms and interests, social activity, or economic, civic and political aims
– can make a considerable contribution in itself. Putnam (2001) argues that
through this process of strengthening social capital, crime can be reduced,
education enhanced, and better health fostered.

I n an attempt to bridge social capital, CEMVO Scotland, through funding from
the Scottish Executive Community and Integration Fund, is in the process of
developing an ethnic minority civic parliament (EMCP) that will aim to have a
structured civic engagement process between communities, and statutory,
public and executive agencies. It is envisaged that the EMCP will increase the
capacity of ethnic minority communities in becoming involved in civic and
democratic society.

4. Organisational capacity building

The process of building the capacity of ethnic minority voluntary organisations
and community groups focuses on building their structures, systems, people
and skills so that they are better able to define and achieve their objectives.

Many other organisations will give their own experiences and approaches to
capacity building, which is beyond the scope of this paper to comment upon.
Thus, this section will focus on CEMVO Scotland’s experiences of capacity

building through a programme that has been delivered by our organisation for
the past 3 years. In the past 2 years CEMVO Scotland has supported up to 60
ethnic minority voluntary organisations and community groups throughout
Scotland through a highly structured capacity building programme and have
helped to secure up to £1 Million for the sector. Running parallel to this,
CEMVO is supporting a further 10 organisations through a pilot programme to
build the social enterprise of organisations so that they can begin to find their
feet in the social economy market.

Through our experience, we have found that;

   1. Organisations that deliver capacity building need to build their own
      capacity to build the capacity of other organisations. This includes the
      skills and knowledge of staff and the management tools to undertake
      the work. CEMVO Scotland for example, invested resources in
      supporting ethnic minority staff in attaining an MBA and equipping them
      with a structured approach to assessing the capacity building needs of
      organisations through a “diagnostic toolkit.” The knowledge and skills
      of the capacity building officer is important in the process as they need
      to support organisations through guidance on governance, business
      planning, financial systems, marketing, funding strategies, etc.

   2. Capacity building is not about going into an organisation on an ad hoc
      or short-term basis and helping with say a funding application or to help
      draft a constitution, or to help with charity registration. This has little to
      no impact and lacks any significance in the development of an
      organisation or a community group. The process needs to be more
      structured and much longer-term as community groups and
      organisations are at different stages of development and it means
      taking more time to understand the organisation better and to assess
      where the organisation is at in its development. It also takes time to
      build trust and relationships with organisations, and to fully understand
      the processes of organisations and community groups – in terms of for
      example, the effectiveness of the governing body, how decisions are
      made, how staff are involved in business planning processes, etc.
      Such time need to be invested to assess areas for priority action to
      make organisations or community groups more professional and

   3. Capacity building is not about going into an organisation and helping
      them to draft constitutions, business plans, funding applications,
      policies, etc. The process is more about equipping staff, volunteers and
      management committee members of organisations and community
      groups with the skills and knowledge to undertake such processes.
      Thus, capacity building is about the transfer of skills and knowledge
      from the provider through training, support, encouragement and
      guidance. This reinforces point (1) above that capacity building
      organisations themselves need appropriate, highly skilled staff and
      support structures to deliver effective capacity building to other
      organisations and community groups.

4. While capacity building of staff, volunteers and management committee
   members is important, one should not lose sight of ensuring the
   development of structures and processes. Ethnic minority
   organisations and community groups rely heavily on the skills,
   knowledge and experiences of staff, particularly project managers.
   However, such skills and knowledge are lost when staff move on,
   leaving some organisations with real problems. The same problems
   arise for community groups that do not employ staff, as many groups
   rely on the dedication of one or more volunteers.

5. The nature of the ethnic minority voluntary sector is such that many
   compose of dedicated individuals that are volunteers with limited
   resources, with no premises and operating from their living rooms.
   Many are unskilled in community or organisational development while
   those that are, do not always have the time due to other commitments.
   This creates a real problem for capacity building processes as there is
   over reliance on such individuals to implement the work that needs to
   be undertaken.

6. For capacity building to be truly effective and meaningful, both parties
   have to be fully engaged and committed to the process. In our
   experience, many ethnic minority organisations and community groups
   do not fully understand the need for capacity building or what the
   process entails. Many groups are under enormous funding problems
   and prioritise upon this, but fail to see the importance of capacity
   building as a parallel process in increasing their effectiveness, in
   ensuring that funders have trust in their organisation being managed
   well, and in their longer-term sustainability. Furthermore, many groups
   and organisations see capacity building as a means for someone
   coming into their organisation and doing all the work for them in terms
   of drafting polices, business plans, funding applications, and so forth.

7. It is difficult to measure the true impact of capacity building, particularly
   in the short-term. It may be possible in the longer-term to measure
   success in terms of for example, assessing whether an organisation or
   community group has become sustained or continued to exist due to
   being a better managed organisation. However, it may not always be
   the case that capacity building support or intervention has directly
   attributed to the continuation or sustainability of an organisation, as it
   may have continued to survive anyway without such support. Which
   highlight another dimension in the difficulties of measuring the impact
   of capacity building as there are many external, environmental factors
   that need to be brought into the equation. For example, an organisation
   may not be able to continue to survive regardless of how much
   capacity it has if external funding is non accessible.

5. Regional and national BME intermediary organisations in Capacity

In past decades, local, regional and national intermediary ethnic minority
intermediary organisations have had a leading role to play in addressing the
capacity building needs of ethnic minority communities, while at the same
time, support for ethnic minority voluntary sector as a whole has been

Local ethnic minority projects such as Wester Hailes Multi-cultural Project
(formerly known as WHARP and Community Relations Council) and
Communities United in Glasgow for example have provided localised
community development and outreach support to ethnic minority communities
while regional intermediary organisations such as the Race Equality Councils,
Glasgow Anti-Racist Alliance (GARA), Taleem Trust and Chinese Community
Development Partnership (CCDP) have provided capacity building support to
both ethnic minority communities and community groups. National
intermediary organisations such as Positive Action in Housing (PAiH) and
Positive Action Training in Housing (PATH) have addressed Race Equality
issues within the housing sector, while PATH have recently diversified their
agenda to cover placements within the Social Care fields.

A significant development in the past 5 years has been the development of
new national ethic minority intermediary organisations that address the full
scope of the Race Equality agenda on a Scotland wide scale. Such
developments were borne out of arguably the ineffectiveness of mainstream
intermediary organisations in addressing the needs of ethnic minority
communities and its voluntary sector, in its inability to engage effectively with
ethnic minority community organisations, and the need for more structured
capacity building support for the ethnic minority voluntary sector as a whole.
Organisations such as CEMVO, EMPOWER Scotland and BEMIS were
developed to address such gaps in support for ethnic minority communities
and its voluntary sector. BEMIS was, and continues to be funded by The
Scottish Executive in aspiring to be an infrastructure organisation for the
ethnic minority voluntary sector while CEMVO, a UK wide organisation with a
successful track record initially in England in strengthening communities and
tackling inequalities, developed its operations in Scotland in 2003. Since then,
CEMVO has firmly established itself in Scotland to be a leading organisation
in providing direct capacity building support to ethnic minority communities
and its voluntary sector. CEMVO Scotland for example, has developed the
initial stages of a Black Leadership Network for ethnic minority managers from
the voluntary and public sectors – this is the first time in Scotland that such a
collective network of managers has been developed to address the Race
Equality agenda. EMPOWER Scotland equally has developed some positive
initiatives in addressing the Race Equality, and particularly employment

While the development of national ethnic minority intermediary organisations
has been highly positive on the capacity building landscape of the sector and
its communities, many have lacked the resources and commitment from

mainstream funders and agencies to truly have an impact in the rural regions
of Scotland. Although BEMIS for example has received core funding from the
Scottish Executive amounting to £858,000 to date and has a regional
presence in the Highlands, there does not seem to be much evidence to
suggest that this has had an enormous impact. However, to be fair, this may
be attributed to lack of co-operation and commitment from mainstream
agencies rather than a funding issue. What is more positive though is the
capacity skills qualifications that BEMIS is offering to the EMVS through
programmes with various colleges and universities, as this will increase much
needed skills within EM communities, and it would be particularly encouraging
if many EM individuals from rural and remote areas have been recruited for
the opportunity of attaining such qualifications. However, whether this will
have an impact on the development of the EMVS and its communities
remains to be seen as it’s important to nurture the seeds but the soil also
needs to be enriched for the plants to grow.

CEMVO Scotland, primarily due to limited resources, has only undertaken
support of community groups in rural / remote areas such as Inverness shire,
Grampian, Perthshire and North Lanarkshire through its capacity building
programme. This has focused on main cities such as Inverness, Aberdeen,
Dundee and Perth, though some individuals working on the programme for
their groups, do live in rural and remote areas. One of the difficulties of
capacity building rural communities and community groups is the resource
intensive nature of not only identifying groups, of helping to form and develop
into organised groups, but also, of working with the groups that are
geographically, widely spread which has huge cost inplications. It should also
be noted that these are “groups” in the wider sense, as the rurality of the
highlands and other areas means more dispersed “communities” (again, we
use “communities” in the wider sense) that are isolated and experience
problems with forming a co-ordinated structure to their activities.

6. The Way Forward

The challenge that lies ahead for the minority ethnic voluntary sector is not
only to survive, but more importantly, how it is able to develop long-term
sustainability strategies that will enable the sector to continue to deliver much
needed services while at the same time, representing the interests of ethnic
minority communities. For their stakeholders, such as The Scottish Executive
and Local Authorities, the challenge is helping the sector to achieve this long
– term sustainable strategy so that the sector is not only able to build its
capacity, but also, that they continue to be a lever, a gateway for statutory and
public bodies to engage more meaningfully with minority ethnic communities.

The way forward therefore, needs to incorporate some of the following areas:

      Bridge the communication gap through new approaches – e.g. better
       use of ICT and training in this area. Example of Disability sector in
       using ICT to discuss issues, communicate, co-ordinate, etc. Although
       this will not be a solution in itself to community capacity building, it will

      help to overcome physical and geographical barriers for
      communication and co-ordination purposes

         Encourage the development of groups of interest, help develop
          networks and communication exchanges so as to work strategically.
          This will also touch on the social capital agenda of “bonding” and
          “bridging” capital

         Work with decision makers to understand race equality issues, and
          develop commitment – this would involve more partnership working

         There needs to be more involvement and more strategic working
          across Scotland from public and statutory bodies in involving local
          and national ethnic minority organizations in Community Planning
          processes. This would also include the Scottish and regional
          COMPACTS, as many EM groups are still unaware of this funding

         There needs to be more investment from public and statutory
          bodies in building the capacity and sustainability of the minority
          ethnic voluntary sector. Such investment should focus on:

          -   helping to develop organizational and managerial structures
          -   helping to develop the skills and expertise of minority ethnic
              people that work, or are aspiring to work within the sector

     There needs to be a drive towards developing future ethnic minority
      leaders for Scotland. This will not only benefit the ethnic minority
      voluntary sector as a whole, but also, at senior levels of statutory and
      public bodies where decision making processes are instigated.

     There needs to be more dialogue between mainstream funders and the
      ethnic minority voluntary sector so that issues can be discussed and
      collectively addressed. With regards to funding, the EMVS needs to
      diversify its funding base so that they are less reliant on core grant
      funding. This would for example, involve organizations and community
      groups becoming more connected to the social enterprise and social
      economy agendas.

Finally, there needs to be more partnership working between and across all
sectors so that there is a structured and organized approach to social and
economic regeneration and community engagement

Colin Lee
11th June 2006


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