Kirkcolm is a quiet residential village on the northern tip of the Rhins of Galloway peninsula, south-west Scotland. The parish is bounded on the north and west by the sea, on the east by the bay of Loch Ryan and on the south by Leswalt parish.
Like many small rural settlements in South West Scotland the village and its residents have been handed the opportunity to make a difference to their community through access to wind farm benefit funds or Community Benefit funds.
In order to maximise the potential of this cash windfall the community council has commissioned consultants to work with the community to produce a Community Action Plan. The Community Action Plan will identify local need and set
out options to meet that need using the Community Benefit funds. This plan will try to create a plan of action which meets both the short-term and the longer-term needs of the community. It will also demonstrate how wind farm benefit funds can be used to lever additional funds, adding further value to projects.
Crucial to the successful management of wind farm benefit funds is the need for transparency as well as the capacity to manage the process.Transparency takes the form of creating an application procedure that people understand. It also sets out clearly what the money can and can’t be used for and explains the size of the fund and its limitations.
Finally the community must have the capacity to manage the process and the projects it decides to take forward. In some cases communities have decided to employ staff to help manage Community benefit funds, both to administer grants to organisations and to help develop bigger legacy projects. This plan will illustrate how the community can build its capacity and the benefits of doing so. However the decision to go down this route will rest entirely with the community.
The Community Action Plan is a document designed to support the community make best use of the wind farm benefit funds and insure that the funds are being used for projects that the majority support. Its findings are based on extensive community consultation which took place over a 3 month period at the start of the year 2017 which included a questionnaire delivered to every house in the parish and one to one focus meetings with partners and stakeholders as well as Kirkcolm School pupil consultation.
To download a copy of the Kirkcolm Community Plan click here.