Community stewardship or ownership of land and buildings can contribute to the empowerment of communities.
The Scottish Government and COSLA's Community Empowerment Action Plan promotes the empowerment of communities through the ownership of assets (land and buildings).
The disposal of assets from local authorities and other public sector organisations is recognised as an important means of supporting communities to own assets. The Scottish Government is examining how to increase the flow of assets into community ownership and aims to do this by encouraging and supporting local authorities and community organisations both to gain a wider appreciation of the benefits and risks associated with asset transfer and by developing an understanding of the processes involved. In this context asset transfer can range from disposal at full market price or for a nominal amount and can also include long leases.
It is recognised that the ownership of assets will not be the answer for all communities but in the right circumstances it can:
- Generate long term sustainable revenue streams for community organisations
- Instil a heightened sense of civic pride and responsibility
- Provide local people with a meaningful stake in the future development of the place in which they live and / or work
- Contribute to more effective and more intensive use of local resources
- Be used as leverage to draw in new finance and expand the level of community activity
- Improve the quality of the relationship between the citizen, the community and the local authority
- Provide new opportunities for local learning and community capacity building
Community ownership of assets can make an important contribution to the range of innovative, bottom up solutions which community organisations can develop to address local needs. These solutions can not only meet the needs of local people but also contribute to the delivery of both East Renfrewshire Council's Single Outcome Agreement and national government outcomes. The Council does however recognise that the community ownership of land and property assets is a major commitment and it has a duty to ensure that it supports this only where the business case has been proven.