Public praised for participating in Lochaber as money awarded to community groups
The Highland Council received an overwhelming response to Lochaber’s youth participatory budgeting event, with 42 bids coming forward for a share of the £10,000 pot of money to support young people in the area. The public also played their part and a total of 2,243 valid votes were cast by 1279 Lochaber residents.
By using word of mouth, social media and free publicity the pilot was able to demonstrate a credible and positive way of engaging local people in some of the difficult budget decision making that takes place in the public sector every day. People from all over Lochaber and of all ages have been voting. One of the supporting youth workers from High Life Highland commented ‘We have had young people sharing the voting link and encouraging friends and family to vote, one young person living in Lochaber but out on a temporary work placement cast his vote from the Panama Canal – just shows you the power of social media!
The pilot has got whole families and communities talking, young people have come face to face with the reality of prioritising where money should go.
Ward 12 & 22 members are delighted with response to the pilot. Area Leader, Councillor Thomas MacLennan said: “I’d like to thank all the groups who submitted bids and everyone who took part in the public vote. The people of Lochaber have truly embraced this opportunity to get involved and it has only cost a small amount of Council officer time meaning that all the money available can go straight to the Lochaber Community. The response from everyone involved has been so positive that my fellow Councillors and I will be discussing how to move forward from here using this method of public participation budgeting.”
The organisation who received the most on-line and postal votes was Lochaber Pipe Band. The successful organisations and their projects are:
· Lochaber Rugby Club – new floodlights - £1000
· Mallaig Youth Football – equipment & transport - £800
· Lochaber Leisure Centre Swim team – starting blocks - £2500
· Lochaber Women’s Aid – ‘listening’ resources - £150
· Kilmallie Shinty Club – hire of halls for winter training - £500
· Lochaber Pipe Band – 2 x bagpipes for young people - £1,000
· Mallaig youth dance group – mobile mirrors - £300
· Fort William netball club – transport - £540
· Lochaber Camanachd Association – Shinty club safety equipment and transport - £500
· Room 13 International Caol – artists time and materials - £1360
· High Life Highland – Mallaig youth activities - £1560