The first of two public information sessions was held last week in Dumfries to discuss how the new Dumfries Partnership Action Group (DPAG) will operate, how you can get involved and what to expect next.
A number of important points were made by the general public at the meeting and it was agreed that DPAG would feed these into the current conversation around the launch of the new Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation (SCIO) as the time approaches for an inaugural AGM of the group, hopefully in June of this year.
Speaking after the meeting, Tony Fitzpatrick said:
“The information session was really valuable and the attendees came up with several important issues that were felt important to get out to the wider public or anyone thinking about how they might help or get involved in DPAG:-
● It was pointed out that the recently published online application form for ordinary members was over-complicated and used difficult to grasp language. DPAG agreed to simplify the document and come up with a much shorter and user-friendly format. The aim is to encourage people, not put them off though it was accepted that there was a need for more detail in the board of trustees form due to the responsibilities that come with that role;
● Having only an online process for application was insufficient to ensure full access and inclusion, so hard copy applications must be made available and again this is to be actioned. There should also be hard copies of the Dynamically Different Dumfries (DDD) Action Plan document which sets out the agenda for the new SCIO. These are being prepared and will be made available for viewing at outlets/businesses in the town (there is only budget to print a limited number of copies);
● DPAG should set up one or two town centre stalls at upcoming events to attract more interest and encourage those perhaps unsure of just what is involved. Watch out for these;
● It was stressed that involvement as a member of DPAG is free, does not need to involve any ‘work’ unless individuals wanted to volunteer with any aspect of delivering the new Action Plan for the town (copies of which can be found on the DPAG Facebook page, and other social media channels). It was however pointed out that there is no deadline for members in signing up so it is an open process that will see membership build up over months and years. The critical factor was attracting members who had a “real positive passion” for the town and contributing to the whole partnership approach described in the SCIO constitution;
● The view was that the inaugural AGM (where members will elect a board of trustees of up to 15 people) should be held preferably on a Wednesday evening (7.00pm) to attract best attendance and that a more ‘inviting’ venue than Council Chambers should be used.
The basic message is that this is a great way to get involved in moving Dumfries forward. While there are plenty of problems to address, the town is attracting national attention through the innovation and commitment of some quality local businesses, community enterprises and ground-breaking projects. Now is the time to deliver what the people of the town have asked for in the DDD Action Plan.”