A toirt taing
Dùthchas has been extremely successful in its aim of involving people, far beyond original expectations. Several hundred people in each Pilot Area engaged with the work, many of them through involvement in the more demanding work of the Advisory, Strategy and Task Groups. Many people gave many hours of voluntary support to the Project. Several took days away from home to travel on study tours, conferences, seminars and other events, both in the UK and further afield in other countries. In all, local people in each of the Pilot Areas gave approximately 2000 hours of voluntary time.
We also attracted 22 Partner organisations to our partnership. Three of these were, in themselves, networks of organisations: Scottish Environment Link, Rural Forum Scotland and the Scottish Council for Development and Industry. Through their involvement even more organisations were drawn to participate in the work, through consultations, conferences, seminars and supplying information. Many Partners were not only represented by one staff member, but by four, one centrally and one in each of the Pilot Areas. Some of those who represented their organisations at the many evening meetings did so in their own time.
It is hard to place a true value on all this effort and support. Certainly, in the Pilot Areas, the involvement of so many people had a big impact on local capacity, confidence and profile. It was the critical factor in placing the Strategies firmly within the ownership of the local people and agencies involved. Many enthusiastic comments have come from the Pilot Areas about the way in which the communities have worked together, perhaps for the first time.
Dùthchas itself, as a partnership project, in effect belongs to all the Partners. It is not an independent entity. During the course of the three years it is hoped that Dùthchas has become more and more the property of the three areas and of the people who have invested so much in it. Its future is theirs.
From the perspective of those who had the daunting task of organising and managing all this activity, we know that none of this could have been achieved without the tremendous support and engagement of all these people, and we would like to give our heartfelt thanks to everyone.
We know that the work was at times frustrating, theoretical and slow to produce tangible results. We were all learning as we went along and mistakes were made along the way. However, in the long term we believe that this work will have provided a strong foundation for each Pilot Area to build upon. Our hopes are that the Partners will continue to support them in their work, and that all the hard effort of developing the Strategies will bear fruit in plenty in years to come.
Our thanks and very best wishes to you all,
The Team of the Dùthchas Project.