Volunteers from Loch of Shining Waters have rebuilt and relaunched Lochgelly Community Council’s website in a donation worth £860
Loch of Shining Waters, which has run a community website and blog for Lochgelly since 2010, has come to the rescue of Lochgelly Community Council after its website disappeared in January 2016. A councillor admitted to accidentally deleting the website but the community council has proven unable to restore it and get back online.
Volunteers at Shining Waters reconstructed the community council website from archival files and purchased a new domain name and web-hosting. This represents an in-kind donation of £860. Shining Waters has promised to fund the web-hosting and domain name annually (£110 pa) as well as offering community councillors free one-to-one training on how to update their site.
Shining Waters board member James Glen said:
“Many people were very disappointed when the community council website, which had only been up and running for 10 months, suddenly vanished. The thousands of people who regularly visit the Shining Waters website show that people in Lochgelly value having immediate access to local information on their mobiles or computers.”
Web statistics for the previous Lochgelly Community Website that were included in the Hilton Public Consultation report shows that the LCC website was growing in popularity in a very short time, from 38 visitors in March 2015 generating 219 views, to 239 visitors generating 1,281 page views in July 2015.
Chairperson Terry McLean says:
“Studies have shown that an active web presence is indispensable for any council which wants to engage its residents. Studies also show that more and more content is being consumed online through mobile devices so we made sure that the website was robust, responsive and friendly to the various media devices that will be accessing their web site.”
A research paper produced by Bruce Ryan and Peter Cruikshank on behalf of Edinburgh Napier University ‘Community Councils online‘ states:
It should be remembered that online is simply one of a number of channels for discussion and opinion gathering. However, it is a very widely used channel which is available wherever and whenever internet connections are available, rather than by citizens needing to attend meetings, receive printed newsletters or similar. More positively, it seems that control by Community Councils of their content makes the difference between having no presence at all, mediocre presences and informative, content-rich presences that may serve citizens well. In conclusion, although there are some shining examples of community councils using the internet to fulfil their primary function of ascertaining community opinions, it has been somewhat disappointing to find the general low level of use of internet, and the low level of ambition in what is there.
Terry further adds:
“The Napier report into Community Councils online presence highlights a need to provide ongoing support and training to Community Councillors to enable them to adapt and utilise the technology as a useful tool to improve community engagement and discourse, which is why we’ve offered one-to-one training to help councillors gain the necessary IT skills that they may have struggled with to keep their website up-to-date.”
The website can be accessed at www.lochgellycommunitycouncil.org.uk and Lochgelly Community Council meets every second Wednesday of every month at the 385 Club.