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Community Links


Facts & Figures

Organisation Name:Community Links
Individual Name:
Area Served:South Lanarkshire
Population:313,830 (Population data from Census 2011)
Sketch:

Community Links (South Lanarkshire) is an independent, not for profit, community engagement and community development organisation working with communities across South Lanarkshire, particularly the most deprived (as defined in SIMD 2012). It supports ‘community inspired regeneration’, and asset based community development.  Its work includes the design and production of the Community Matters Newspaper; undertaking community and volunteer development in addition to various consultations; facilitating events; tackling food poverty; delivering environmental community projects; addressing sectarian issues via social media; communication through social marketing & media campaigns; and delivering employability support projects.  It builds community capacity through the Asset Based Community Development Approach and strives to enable the development of stronger more resilient communities and individuals.

Legal Form:

Company Ltd by guarantee with charitable status

Volunteers:Approximately 24 active at any given time.
People Benefitting:People across South Lanarkshire: seeking to improve their communities; experiencing unemployment; and communities experiencing poverty. Partners and stakeholders working in the local communities of South Lanarkshire have access to an experienced thir
Staff:4 full-time, 6 part-time on fixed term/rolling contacts (funding dependent)
Turnover:486,356 for period ending 31st March 2015
Earned Income:

Last year (14/15), approximately 0.5% of the turnover was self-generated income; with the remainder coming from core, grant and project funding.

Assets:

n/a

Value of assets:n/a

Roots & Links

Origins:

Community Links was established in 2002 as an independent community consultation and engagement organisation; initially serving communities within Blantyre and North Hamilton Social Inclusion Partnership area.  In 2006, the organisation extended its role to work across South Lanarkshire, with particular emphasis on areas of multiple deprivation as identified by the Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation (SIMD).

Governance:

The Board of Directors has:

 

§    6 community representatives (currently 5)

§    2 private sector representatives 

§    1 Local Authority representative (advisory).

 

Its Memorandums and Articles ensure that the community drives its activities.  Its main objectives are to:

Provide a range of innovative and effective consultation methods to service providers and partner agencies

Provide support to community representatives/activists/volunteers

Provide a range of volunteering opportunities

Provide a range of community information services (including the Community Matters Newspaper and various social media channels)

Provide free and convenient employability and ICT support mechanisms to local communities and develop their capacity to be able to voluntarily sustain this in the future through their SELECT Project (Supporting Employability, Learning & Empowering Communities in Technology).

Provide guidance and support on the safe use of ICT with a focus on individuals and groups

Provide affordable and accessible ICT support to low income households, and commercial / voluntary organisations alike

Contribute to the local and national reduction of sectarian activities through social media and engagement activities 

Deliver training, support, and guidance to organisations in the use of VOiCE (Visioning Outcomes in Community Engagement) to ensure that community engagement and participation methods meet Scottish Government’s National Standards for Community Engagement

Community Links:

Include stakeholder groups’ right across South Lanarkshire, from community groups and voluntary organisations to local businesses.

External Links:

Include:

Commercial organisations (locally-based) 

South Lanarkshire Council

VASLan 

NHS Lanarkshire

Scottish Government/ Scottish Centre for Regeneration

Scottish Community Development Centre

Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO)

Scottish Urban Regeneration Forum (SURF)

Police Scotland

Fire and Rescue Scotland

Activities

Physical Hub:

The office in Blantyre is the main base and administrative centre of the Company

Builds Local Capacity:

Volunteering and volunteer development

Volunteers work on the Board – as Directors; the Community Matters Newspaper; community consultations; food poverty and related activities; ICT and employment activities; and community events

The ICT and employment support project

All volunteers connected with the ICT and employment support project have Personal Development Plans and receive training; many go on to further education and/or employment.

Pride of Place

The organisation assists the Pride of Place committee which is made up of local volunteers in making decisions on applications for small scale environmental projects from local community groups and schools which will have lasting benefits to the environment and wider community.

Food Poverty Activities

The organisation works with volunteers and local communities to provide opportunities to reduce food poverty being experienced by local individuals.  Through volunteering, providing food co-operatives and promoting healthy eating and how to cook with easy and simple recipes, in addition to local community café provision in designated areas.

Community Development

 The organisation works with communities to identify their strengths and supports them to build on these by increasing communications and relationships with each other, partners and stakeholders.  Identifying and utilising skills is core to this and very much develops capacity, confidence and resilience.

Delivers Services:

Including: 

Community Development:  Delivering Community Asset Based Development work in identified local communities. 

Community consultation: Bespoke consultation services for a wide range of public and private sector organisations including South Lanarkshire Council, NHS Lanarkshire, NHS Scotland, Police Scotland and Clyde Gateway

Community event management: often to support engagement and information sharing with communities.

Community Matters Newspaper: 39,500 distributed quarterly (two area editions), free, to households in areas of multiple deprivation as identified by SIMD 2012.  A further 3,500 copies are distributed quarterly, to local public venues such as community centres, libraries and doctors/dental surgeries.

ICT and Employment support: provision of online facilities and employability support through local venues for any individual residing within the local communities – activities including universal job search assistance, CV creation /upload and money saving advice with a particular emphasis on online services; provides free IT support to local individuals residing in areas of deprivation; provides affordable IT services for smaller voluntary organisations; IT training and equipment hire 

Administrative services and meeting room hire: at their offices.

Develops/Manages Property:

-

Other:

-

Main Achievements:

1.      Volunteer development: our volunteers often face significant barriers such as long-term unemployment, lack of self-confidence and limited childcare.  It’s great to see them gain in confidence, develop and go on to get work. 

2.      IT and employability support: we’ve seen it evolve and grow from providing free reconditioned PCs to nominated local people and support to community groups and businesses, to providing local independent satellite hubs within local communities providing both on site IT support and employability advice whilst being recognised and supported by key partners including South Lanarkshire Council, Jobcentre Plus and the Department of Work and Pensions  It really helps bridge the digital divide in deprived communities.

3. Recognition: Recognised within South Lanarkshire Council as one of the leading consultation organisations within the local authority.  Feature in the Council publications regarding consultation - such as the “Framework for Engagement publication”.  Recognised by Scottish Government and included as an example of good practice in the Scottish Community Empowerment Action Plan.

What Next

Biggest Challenge:

Community Links will continue to develop and grow, creating space at various levels to consider developmental needs, to ensure the sustainability of the organisation mainly through self-generated income by offering external organisations consultancy and IT services, whilst seeking new funding opportunities to develop meaningful localised projects with the communities we work with.  

 

Lessons Learned:

Be proactive: keep being innovative, and looking at new ways of doing things.  We have been highlighted as an example of good practice.  We would like to build on this and retain our reputation with our partners and communities alike.  Changes are inevitable and we have to work harder to be at the forefront to remain connected and innovative during the process to ensure we do not disconnect from our board of management, our staff team and our volunteers, for the benefit of the organisation and the communities we work with.  

To be able to continue the good work and seek new opportunities by: engaging, informing, empowering and developing communities to enable them to improve their quality of life and become stronger, more resilient, supportive, influential and inclusive for the future.   

Aspirations:

To be able to continue the good work and seek new opportunities by: engaging, informing, empowering and developing communities to enable them to improve their quality of life and become stronger, more resilient, supportive, influential and inclusive for the future.  

Contact

Name:Morag Pinion
Title:Project Manager
Address Line 1:Community Links
Address Line 2:Unit 1A, Clydeview Shopping Centre
City:Blantyre
County:Glasgow, G72 0QD
Telephone:(01698) 827583
Fax:(01698) 829000
Email:administrator@communitylinssl.co.uk or morag@communitylinkssl.co.uk
Website URL:www.communitylinkssl.co.uk
District:South Lanarkshire