How does this impact on Community Wellbeing? The sadly ironic truth to 'community wellbeing' is the slow degradation of anything that resembles a community these days. Areas are over-developed with no thought as to how it affects the social fabric of the area. Community Councils are often ignored and elected so-called representatives do not act in the most beneficial way toward their communities either due to political motivations or brick walls. Local Authorities act like kings in a kingdom; choosing to interfere or ignore communities at their leisure and never feeling the need to justify decisions. Community Councils across the Highlands are experiencing a downturn in members: unsurprising when the role of the community council is spending significant (unpaid) time combatting local authority decisions that are in no way supported by the community. I suggest community councils are empowered to make more decisions for the local area such as how funds are spent and what the real priorities are for the existing residents. Why should the Committee focus on this as part of their future work? Communities are not the buildings, nor the geographical location: they are the people. As the social fabric degrades, so does the community. Allow communities to make their own decisions so people feel empowered (or can stop counter-productive decisions) to ensure the people who are affected by decisions can make the decisions. Give us back our communities.
Ownership and empowerment go together in this matter. The immediacy of the power a community has over the money which is to be spent in its area, directly affects its sense of involvement and positivity towards its locale. Small local councils are subservient to higher councils, who hold and control the purse strings for most of the expenditure in the area. This, by its very nature, reduces the viability of the small councils, to satisfy their electorate, as funds are unavailable to them.
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