On the 9th July 2016 the Big Local programme in East Sheppey ran a successful Participatory Budgeting event.
The aims of the Eastern Sheppey Big Local You Decide event were more than simply to distribute Community Chest funding. By creating an event it was envisaged that Big Local would:
- Empower and build stronger communities
- Raise its profile and get more people involved
- Improve local public services
- Increase community engagement.
Swale Community and Voluntary Services (SCVS) has been involved in PB over the last 5 years, supporting the leader of Swale Borough Council (SBC) Councillor Andrew Bowles, who devolves his Kent County Council Members Grant to the local community within his constituency.
Using the framework of other Participatory Budgeting events, it was decided to invite local community organisations to make a two minute presentation, followed by one minute for the audience to ask questions. After a break the audience votes. It was decided that there would not be an official application form for the event, rather that groups would write a short summary of their idea to explain who they are, what they would like the funding for, and who it would benefit. Partnership members, Local Trust and Big Local staff all worked together to ensure the environment was welcoming, friendly (tea and coffee at the ready) and that everyone was signed in, delegate packs given and ready to start for 10am.
- 53 people attended the event in total. There was significant attendance from all 3 areas.
- 34 groups requested information about the event and 16 applied for funding. 12 projects were successful in their applications.
- The amount available was £7,500 and the total application value was £10,614.39. The total amount awarded on the day was £7615.39
- Excluding staff costs, the total spent on the event was £581. This included venue hire, food and refreshments, printing and advertising.
However not all 16 groups were awarded funding, so competition remained significant. 5th Sheppey Scouts receive the highest number of votes from the audience, whereas the group receiving the fewest votes whilst still being successful took the overall total just over the £7,500. It was therefore decided, by a partnership decision on the day, to increase the amount of money slightly to accommodate the above requests. It is important to note that at the time of the partnership decision, we were not aware which groups had been successful, only that an additional £115.39 would help secure a further application.
The feedback verbally and on social media has been positive and the partnership members all feel that it has been a good profile raising exercise for Big Local and a fantastic opportunity to support local organisations.
With thanks to Sean Leacock, Project Co-ordinator at SCVS for sharing this information with us. Find out more about Big Local in Eastern Sheppey on their Facebook page