Is this offer of hot food not just a new way of political proselytising?

soup kitchen

Hot food is on the menu to attract people to ‘community empowerment’ meetings.

West Dunbartonshire Council are offering hot food to attract people to a series of events to help residents become more involved in their communities.

In an area of multiple deprivation, where food banks are busy and 1,000 people had to rely on Food4Thought for their Christmas dinner, this is remarkably insensitive.

It will bring to mind for many people memories of people living “on the parish” and religious proselytising by offering soup to attract people to church services.

People who did the latter were said to have “taken the soup” and changed their religion in order to be fed.

Is this not just political proselytising by the SNP-Tory-backed administration on our council ?

The workshops being organised are said by the Council to have been organised to “encourage participants to share their ideas on what can be done to make it easier for people to get involved in improving their local community.

“Residents will also be asked to share their own experiences of being involved in their communities.

“These conversations will help inform and improve the processes so that more people choose to get involved and the information gathered will shape the Council’s emerging Community Empowerment Strategy and Action Plan. “

Someone should step in and tell the Council that the community has already been empowered through the democratic electoral process.

And that this is precisely what councillors and community councillors are for.

West Dunbartonshire’s costly plan – they will not reveal how much it is going to cost council taxpayers – is taking subsidiarity a step too far.

They say information about how residents can use the Community Empowerment Act to achieve what they want to locally will be shared at each event.

The workshops, which are being run by Scottish Community Development Centre (SCDC) (aka consultants) on behalf of West Dunbartonshire Council, follow a series of similar events held throughout December.

Cllrs McAllister, Docherty and the coat of arms of West Dunbartonshire Council.

Councillor Caroline McAllister, deputy leader of the SNP administration and spokesperson for Community Empowerment, said: “Our residents are at the heart of what we do at West Dunbartonshire Council and we want to stress to them that opportunities to get involved in their community do exist. Who better to know what each individual community needs than the people who live there?

“I’d encourage everyone to make a point of getting along to one of these events and have your (sic) say or get support to be involved.

“We’ve already hosted a number of events in December, but we want more voices to add to the discussion.”

Didn’t councillors when they stood for election tell the voters that they were the best people to represent them because they knew what this area needed and would work hard to achieve it?

Councillor Diane Docherty, Convener of Housing and Communities, added: “These workshops are a great way to start a conversation about how we can empower our residents and make it easy for them to get involved with making improvements to their community.

“We welcome any member of the community who feels they have opinions on how to improve public services, or ideas for a local disused building, or even people who have struggled to know how to get involved in the past.”

West Dunbartonshire Council’s Community Empowerment Strategy and Action Plan will set out the key things that need to be done to empower communities and to ensure that the Community Empowerment Act (2015) can be used to make things better for communities.

The next phase of this important conversation will take place on the following dates:

  • Monday 28th January – Alexandria Community Centre
  • Thursday 31st January – Concord Community Centre
  • Wednesday 6th of February – Clydebank Town Hall

Hot food and a chance to talk informally to other local people will start at 5.15 with the main discussion between 6.00pm and 8.00pm.

This will give you 45 minutes to eat all you can eat and not be expected to speak with your mouth full.

Given that there are three venues, peripatetic punters could space things out over three nights – soup in the Vale, mains in Dumbarton and a sweet in Clydebank.

Its aim is to encourage more people to take part, additional support including a crèche, transport and interpreting services will be provided.

If you would like more information about the events, or need to book childcare, transport or require other support please contact:

We wonder if Sarah Jane has the menu for the hot food. Will it be soup or maybe even mince and tatties? And will there be a dessert and team and coffee? It’s ridiculous.

Here is a piece of FREE advice from The Dumbarton Democrat to councillors:

Get out there into the community yourselves and meet the people; get on a bus or a train (if you are lucky), go into the shops and supermarkets and talk to them. Discuss what’s happening or not happening in your area. Feed off the electorate’s ideas, take them back to the council and set in train a process and a plan to have the good ones implemented.

That’s what the voters elected you for and the council taxpayers pay you for.

One comment

  1. There was a structure in place a few years ago where the Communities in Alexandria, Dumbarton and Clydebank had an elected Neighbourhood Committee of local activists in each area with a physical base to work from. The groups were well organised knew what the real issues were and also understood to make a change they needed some power. As soon as they started asking WDC some hard questions about the real issues in our communities that needed addressing, the Council shut them down. Until some real power is devolved from the centre, communities will remain on the outside looking in.

Leave a Reply