Your voice – your choice in Lochaber

A new and exciting decision-making process is being piloted in Lochaber over this summer, with young people in the area being given the opportunity to decide how funding should be spent on them.

Lochaber Councillors have made £10,000 available from the ward discretionary budget for distribution to a range of groups, clubs and projects that support young people aged between 11-25 years old.

Usually groups would apply with the decision being made by the Lochaber Councillors, but a new method known as Participatory Budgeting (PB) will see the target audience making the decisions themselves.

PB is a different way to manage public money, and to engage people in government. It is a democratic process in which community members directly decide how to spend part of a public budget.

Highland Council’s Area Leader Thomas MacLennan said: “This is an exciting pilot project which offers the first Participatory Budgeting in Highland.  The process gives everyone in Lochaber the chance to vote for their preferred project and the methods used open up that voting opportunity to everyone in the community.  A mix of social media and more traditional mechanisms are being used, as well as an advisory panel comprising people in the target age range for this particular fund.  I would encourage everyone with an interest to take part to ensure that their voice gets their choice.

“Whether you are involved in a club that needs a bit of extra cash to do something new, have an interesting idea you want to get off the ground or are struggling to raise funds to keep a vital service going, this could be your chance to get a share of the money.”

The fund for applications opens on Monday 22 June and more details and the application form can be accessed at www.highland.gov.uk/YouthPB with a closing date of 28th August 2015.  The applications will be put to a public on-line vote and an assessment panel of young people from your area. 

Application forms and guidance are available from Highland Council service points throughout the Lochaber area as well as Lochaber Leisure Centre, Lochaber High Schools, the Leven Centre - Kinlochleven, the Sunart Centre – Strontian, Fort William and Mallaig Libraries.

22 Jun 2015
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