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The Aspiring Communities Fund helps enable community bodies and third sector organisations in our most deprived and fragile communities to develop and deliver long-term local solutions that address local priorities and needs, increase active inclusion and build on the assets of local communities to reduce poverty and to enable inclusive growth.


Projects put communities first by involving local people in the process and support the aims of the Fairer Scotland Action Plan to change deep seated, multi-generational deprivation, poverty and inequalities

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Adaptive & Collaborative Communities


In 2019, on behalf of the Caithness Community PartnershipCaithness Voluntary Group and Pulteneytown People's Project hosted a 12-month community engagement project.


Funded by the Aspiring Communities Fund, three project officers were surveying and interviewing individuals and groups in the four Locality Plan areas of Thurso, Wick, Castletown and Lybster to Berriedale.


The overall aim of the project was to identify issues, challenges and solutions around inequalities as experienced by the communities themselves. Below you will find a summary of their findings.

Thurso Report

Wick Report 

Rural (Castletown and Lybster to Berriedale) Report

The success of the project meant that in March 2020 further funding was granted to the Caithness Voluntary Group by the Aspiring Communities Fund and 2 Project Officers and a Project Coordinator posts were created until March 31st 2022.

The objective was to create five projects that will 

  • Enabling communities to design and establish new or enhanced services addressing poverty and inequalities;

  • Supporting staff posts within community organisations to increase levels of economic activity, local service provision and inclusion, and enhance community resilience

  • Accelerating the implementation of projects and services delivering longer-lasting solutions that empower individuals and communities to shape their futures by involving local people in the process.


Adaptive & Collaborative Communities



In 2018 the Sutherland Community Partnership (SCP), with the Kyle of Sutherland Development Trust (KoSDT), launched the Community Engagement project, funded by the Scottish Government’s Aspiring Communities Fund.

The outcome of the project was the creation of Locality Plans for five priority areas identified across Sutherland which were published in 2019.  The priority areas were identified, based on a range of data sources, as Golspie, Brora, Helmsdale, Creich and Kinlochbervie. During the project, the SCP recognised that other areas in the county would benefit from a similar consultation.  The Community Engagement team carried out additional work across Sutherland and further Community Plans were published.   Copies of the Plans are available here: Sutherland Community Partnership - Highland CPP.

Building on the success of the Community Engagement project KoSDT, with the SCP partners, was successful in a further application to the Aspiring Communities Fund.  The Sutherland Adaptive and Collaborative Communities (SACC) project started in August 2020 . The project aims to bring new or enhanced services to some of the most vulnerable and hardest to reach communities through partnership and collaborative working.


  • Community based or community led services supported: The project will aid and build capacity in community groups to carry out projects that will address inequalities.

  • Deprived or fragile communities supported:  All five Locality Plan areas will be supported.

  • People benefitting from new services/support:  A minimum of five project ideas will be developed to a stage where communities can bring new and improved services to people living in deprived and fragile communities.

  • New or improved community owned assets:  The project will support communities to identify potential asset acquisition or improvements. 

Community Planning Partnerships

Caithness and Sutherland

The Caithness and Sutherland Community Planning Partnerships were set up in 2016 as two of nine local partnerships established by the Highland Community Planning Partnership in response to the Community Empowerment (Scotland) Act 2015. 


Further information on the HCPP can be found on the website: Sutherland Community Partnership - Highland CPP  


The SCPP and CCPP bring together statutory bodies working across Caithness and Sutherland to engage and work in partnership with communities and the third sector to support the people of Caithness and Sutherland to live full, healthy lives with opportunity and diversity.  The statutory core partners include Police Scotland (Chair of the SCP), the Highland Council, Scottish Fire and Rescue Service, Highland and Islands Enterprise (Chair of CCPP), NHS Highland, Nature Scot and HighLife Highland.  In addition, the Kyle of Sutherland Development Trust (managing the SACC project), Caithness Voluntary Groups (managing the CACC project), Citizens Advice Bureaus and Voluntary Groups Sutherland represent the third sector within the core partnerships. 


Further information on the Caithness CPP can be found here: Caithness Community Partnership - Highland CPP 

Further information of the Sutherland CPP can be found here: Sutherland Community Partnership - Highland CPP  

The Caithness and Sutherland Adaptive and Collaborative Communities projects have been working closely together and have been supporting the core delivery of their respective CPPs throughout the duration of the projects.  As a direct result much of the work delivered by the two projects has established both CPPs as the most effective across the Highland network of CPPs.

SHARED Resources

Work completed in partnership between CACC & SACC

Image by C D-X

Mental Health & Wellbeing Podcast

Join Julie Marker, Yvonne Ross, Kay Nicolson and Rebecca Dunphy for an hour long discussion about mental health and wellbeing support and needs in the North Highlands.

MAPPING Caithness & Sutherland

A series of maps outlining resources throughout the area

Community Hall Map

Community halls and broadband access in each community. 

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Transport Map

Railway stations, bus routes, community transport services and electric vehicle charging points

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Defibrillator Map

Public defibrillators throughout Sutherland

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Food Map

Community gardens, larders and other food related groups.

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