Kirk goes on the road to tackle local democracy issues this autumn

As part of the Scottish Government’s ongoing Democracy Matters consultation, the Church of Scotland is hosting community consultation events designed to empower local congregations to make a positive difference within their communities.

Church members are encouraged to come along to the upcoming roadshows and make their voice heard on the local issues that matter to them.

The programme, which was previously announced in August when the Church sought churches to host the events, is now underway. Four successful roadshows have so far been held in Kirkwall, Aberdeen, Paisley and the south side of Glasgow, with more events still to go.

Rev Peter Johnston, the minister at Ferryhill Parish Church in Aberdeen, said:

“The passion in the discussion at the Democracy Matters event I hosted in Aberdeen was very evident both in the strength of feeling that there is currently something not working in local democracy and in the desire to see democracy function better for all.

“The event was a great opportunity to learn from one another about different aspects of local democracy as everyone came with different experiences and knowledge. It was an opportunity for honest discussion about difficult themes and those present felt it had been worthwhile.”

Strengthening democracy and making Scotland a better place for all

All across Scotland, decisions about the physical environment, health, education and transport are being taken by a wide range of public sector organisations. The Scottish Government consultation reflects a growing realisation that many decisions could be best taken by the people who will be directly affected.

The series of community consultation events ask people about their experiences of local decision making processes and how this could be done better. Questions for discussion will include whether communities would like more control over some decisions; whether there are existing ways of making local decisions that could make this happen, or whether new forms of decision making are needed.

The results of the consultation events will be compiled and contributed to the Scottish Government as they consider the future of local decision making.

Events are also planned for South Uist in the Western Isles, Strontian in the West Highlands, Balloch in West Dunbartonshire, Elgin and Keith in the North East, and in Dundee, Inverness, Edinburgh and Glasgow.

We want to hear your voice in a discussion about your local community

Church members are encouraged to come along to the upcoming roadshows and make their voice heard on the local issues that matter to them.

Our next Democracy Matters events:

  • Wednesday 24 October: Meadowbank Church of Scotland - 83 London Road, Edinburgh EH7 5TT - 7-9pm
  • Monday 29 October: St Giles & St Columba’s South, High Street, Elgin, IV30 1LF - 7-9pm
  • Tuesday 30 October: East and Old Parish Church, East High St, Forfar, Angus, DD8 2EG – 7-9pm
  • Tuesday 30 October: Keith North Church, 193 Mid St, Keith, AB55 5BL - 7-9pm
  • Thursday 1 November: Sunart Centre, Strontian, PH36 4JA -7-9pm
  • Tuesday 13 November: Livingstone United Parish Church, Nether Dechmont Community Centre, Fells Rigg, Livingston, EH54 8AX - 2-4pm
  • Thursday 15 November: Alexandria Parish Church, 1 Lomond Road, Balloch, G83 8SJ - times TBC
  • Friday 23 November: Old Boys School (Inverness Cathedral) - 7-9pm

It is still possible to arrange for a Democracy Matters event in your area, but expressions of interest need to be made as soon as possible with events taking place by the end of November.

If your church would like more information on hosting a Democracy Matters conversation please contact Chloe Clemmons or Irene MacKinnon on info@scpo.scot or 0131 240 2276.