Money for Moray is the name of a participatory budgeting event which is organised by a working group formed of volunteers from the Joint Community Councils of Moray, area forums, and village halls and associations in Moray. The working group is a great example of community councils working in partnership with other organisations, for the benefit of the wider community.
Participatory budgeting (PB), also known as community choices, is a way for local people to have a direct say in how, and where, public funds can be used to address local requirements. PB is used alongside other models of community engagement and empowerment as part of a wider strategic approach to advancing participatory democracy.
The Money for Moray working group has successfully designed and delivered two participatory budgeting events. In 2016 they organised the first Money for Moray participatory budgeting event with £60,000 from Moray Council’s Economic Development fund and match funding of £60,000 from Scottish Government. The theme of the funding was Economic Development and groups were invited to apply for funding for projects that would benefit the local economy, such as through tourism or the creation of jobs. Applications that met the criteria were shortlisted and these groups were invited to present their project at one of two public events. Members of the audience at these events then voted for their ten favourite projects and groups with the most votes were funded. Thirty-four groups were successfully funded.
In 2017, with funding from Scottish Government’s Community Choices fund, Money for Moray undertook a second participatory budgeting programme that looked to fund projects focussed on tackling social isolation. With two minutes to present and two minutes for answering questions, groups from across Moray shared their ideas for various projects; such as ramps to make churches more wheelchair accessible, a shelter at a rural train station, and an art group for people with mental health issues. Thirteen projects were successfully funded.
The Joint Community Councils of Moray is a forum for all the community councils in the Moray area that meets quarterly. The Money for Moray working group benefitted from having volunteers from other community organisations because each organisation offered a different perspective. Having a mix of volunteers from throughout the council area also allowed the working group to connect with more people throughout Moray.
The participatory budgeting processes have not only benefitted the projects that are successfully funded, which in turn go on to impact on the community by promoting social inclusion or economic development. The groups that presented at the events were offered presentation coaching by the working group to help them build their confidence; the community is able to be part of decision making; and the working group has networked with the public and local organisations, and raised their own profiles within the area.
Looking ahead, the working group are looking to meet with Community Planning Board partners to discuss using PB methods to look at larger strategic budgets that Community Planning partners have in Moray.
For more information about Money For Moray, visit: www.moneyformoray.org/
Other examples of community councils that have received funding from Scottish Government’s Community Choices Fund, can be found here: Community Councils and Community Choices