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The countdown is on until the first event that gives the community the right to choose how money is to be spent on local projects that will help make a difference to those facing difficult times. The Council’s first participatory budgeting event will take place in the Stewartry this Saturday.
In November last year, Dumfries and Galloway Council’s Communities Committee allocated £240,000 of funding to be distributed to local groups and organisations for projects that would tackle poverty in our region. This funding will be distributed using a process called participatory budgeting. This allows members of the public to prioritise spending on projects and gives them the power to make real decisions on how the money is spent. This is done by people voting for projects that they feel will have the greatest impact in their local communities.
There will be four voting events taking place in locations in the heart of our local communities. Using a process called participatory budgeting; members of the are invited along where they will be able to find out more about the different projects. Everyone then votes to decide which projects they think will benefit their area most, putting decision making right at the heart of communities.
Because poverty means different things to different people, it can be very complicated for those who want to help; the process of participatory budgeting is designed to empower communities to decide for themselves what they think will be of most benefit in their areas, both for short term and planning for years to come.
The first event takes place in the Stewartry this week where 13 different projects will be showcased. A funding pot of more than £38.000 is available for the Stewartry projects. Voting will take place between 11am and 3pm at the Dalbeattie Learning Campus.
Councillor Andy Ferguson, Chair of the Communities Committee said, ‘Our Council has a priority of putting local people at the heart of decision making, and giving them the opportunity to influence decisions that affect their everyday lives. Participatory budgeting gives local people that opportunity. We are starting to see all across Scotland communities of place and of interest becoming empowered to make decisions which affect them and start to make choices about what improvements they want to see for themselves and their communities’.
Vice Chair of the Communities Committee, Councillor John Martin, said, “I am pleased that this participatory budgeting exercise gives people in our local communities the right to decide how money should be spent in order to make a difference for local people. I hope that the first event in the Stewartry this week is well supported and that the projects use the opportunity to demonstrate how the funding would make a difference for some of the most vulnerable people in our local communities.”