With the Scottish Parliament election behind us the full impact of the budgetary crisis is beginning to be felt across Scotland. For SURF, one of the big challenges is to keep community regeneration as a high level policy aim amid the Government priorities of promoting overall economic growth, strengthening Scotland’s infrastructure and promoting the renewables revolution.
The Government’s commitment to developing a national regeneration strategy and bringing forward a Community Empowerment and Renewal Bill provide obvious opportunities along with the Christie Commission’s recommendations for a strengthened role for communities in the delivery of public services. But the devil will be in the detail of how to realise these ambitions on the ground with diminishing budgets. The emphasis will have to be on producing greater value from existing budgets and assets both human and physical rather than on grand but costly institutional restructuring. And just as collaboration and creativity will be required to achieve those public goals, so SURF will have to apply the same qualities to deliver its contribution.
While SURF looks forward to continuing its work with the Scottish Government it is also determined to strengthen its role as an independent network across Scottish civil society, so were pleased to recently confirm new collaborative partnerships with both Creative Scotland and the Joseph Rowntree Foundation. Our developing work with these important organisations in supporting creative approaches to community regeneration in these challenging times will be highlighted in future issues of Scotregen and on the SURF website.