In March 2017 three community council-led participatory budgeting events took place with funding from Scottish Government’s Community Choices. The money for the events was part of Scottish Government’s 2016 Community Choices funding, which funded 16 community projects and 12 public authorities across Scotland to organise their own participatory budgeting events.
The three community council-led projects funded by Community Choices were organised by Leith Links Community Council, Cambuslang Community Council, and Money for Moray, a working group comprised of local volunteers from the Joint Community Councils of Moray, area forums, and village halls and associations.
Participatory budgeting (PB), also known as community choices, is 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. For more information on PB, please visit http://pbscotland.scot/
The grants from Community Choices were used to cover the costs of organising and holding PB events, as well as funding projects that the local community had voted on.
Using their Community Choices funding and money from their administration grant, Leith Links Community Council gave £16,461.66 to 15 projects. Members of the community from aged 8 and up were able to vote in person at a social voting event or online. For more information about Community Links, Leith Links Community Council’s participatory budgeting project, please visit: www.leithlinkscc.org.uk/our-projects/community-links-fund-20162017/
Cambuslang Community Council received £58,960 from the Community Choices Fund. Projects that focussed on neighbourhood environmental improvements, such as environment-related events, community gardens, and public art, were invited to apply for funding from the Greening Cambuslang Fund. To find out more about Greening Cambuslang, please visit: www.cambuslangcommunitycouncil.com/?s=greening+cambuslang
With £40,000 available to fund projects, Money for Moray invited community and voluntary groups to put forward projects that tackled social isolation; 13 projects were successful in receiving funding. A case study on the Money £or Moray working group is available on the Community Councils Website.
Speaking at the Money for Moray event on 25 March, Kevin Stewart MSP, Minister for Local Government and Housing, said: “I think it’s very important for community councils and other community organisations to get involved in community choices, after all, it’s people that count and they should have their say in where money is spent.”