Grantown-on-Spey: Case Study

What is the project?

The Grantown Society requested Mentoring support to secure the future of the cultural heritage, social connections, local economy and built environment of Grantown and the surrounding area of Mid Strathspey. The group wanted to support the local economy which suffers from low wages, part time work, unemployment and high transport, fuel and living costs.  The area had also suffered from the recent collapse of two major businesses.

How is the My Place Mentoring programme supporting the project?

Upon first meeting with the The Grantown Society, the Mentoring team identified a need to streamline the society’s governance and divide up projects amongst its members. This was a key first step for a local group with a whole-town approach, as opposed to a single-project approach. The Grantown society has multiple projects on the go, such as securing a building for their organisation and improving green spaces and street furniture in the area.

Once projects were divided between society members, it became easier to draft a plan for each individual project. For the project of finding a building for the society to be based in, the Mentoring Officer suggested researching vacancies of buildings, researching owners of those buildings via Scotland’s Land Information Service, thinking of possible revenue generation for the building conducting community engagement to discern how local people would like to use the space. For the project of improving green space and street furniture, the Mentoring Officer suggested to researching greenspace funding, making contact with possible partners (Sustrans, local authorities, community councils) and holding public engagement events to understand the community’s wishes for local greenspace.

Since the Grantown Society’s multiple projects all require public engagement, the Mentoring team suggested that they could hold an open day or evening where they talk about their organisation’s mission and then have breakout tables for small discussions about each of their different initiatives. The public could be incentivised to attend the event with a raffle of local goods, wherein each attendee gets a raffle ticket upon entry. The Society organised a series of open community engagement sessions with variety of groups.

Another key contribution that the Mentoring team suggested to the Grantown Society was defining the organisation’s status as a charitable body. Becoming a registered charity is beneficial for the society’s reputation and funding. In terms of reputation, becoming a charity solidifies the society’s reputation as working for community benefit, which can help encourage public donations. In addition to encouraging public donations, becoming a charity can help with funding because charities receive some tax reliefs and have access to exclusive sources of funding. The Society has now successfully registered as a SCIO.

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