Praise for participation as more public events planned

The new Chair of the Caithness Committee, Councillor Gillian Coghill has thanked everyone who took part in the recent participatory budget event held in Wick and says she would like to see other areas of the Highlands use this dynamic way to involve members of the public in decision-making.

Last year Caithness councillors set aside £30,000 from their ward discretionary to create a participatory budgeting event. A steering group was set up with community councils, voluntary groups, community associations and High Life Highland Youth Workers joining council staff to host the Your Caithness Your Cash event.

At the well-attended event which took place on Saturday 21 November in Wick, members of the public got the chance to vote on which projects they thought should receive funding after listening to presentations from the 20 groups who had applied.

A total of 13 projects benefitting local communities received a share of the £30,000 and at yesterday's (Wednesday 13 January) meeting of the Caithness Committee, members had a chance to discuss feedback from the public on the pilot event and to look at ways this approach could be used in future funding decisions.

During the meeting they agreed to hold similar events at the end of May and next November.

Councillor Gillian Coghill said: “I thought the event was terrific and I would like to thank everyone who came along to give presentations, and those who voted, for their excellent work and great enthusiasm. The atmosphere on the day was very vibrant and it was really heartening to see folk get involved and having their say on where the thought the money should go.”

“Feedback has been very positive and I am delighted that the committee has agreed to hold one again at the end on May and again next November. The experience has been so positive that I hope other areas of the Highlands consider holding similar events.”

14 Jan 2016