In a recent report on a range of Participatory Budgeting initiatives Edinburgh City Council recognises the positive impacts in terms of public approval for opportunities to have a say over budgets. Examining programmes like the award winning Leith Decides encouraged the council to continue to develop the approach, and it is trying PB in a number of ways, including the ‘Canny wi cash‘ project that ran in October 2013.
The Canny wi’ Cash ‘voting fortnight’ ran until Friday 1st November. A total of 58 projects, large and small, have been successful. A total of £56,000 has been allocated. A celebration event is being planned for the end of January 2014 – to recognise the brilliant work that so many community groups do with, by and for Older People across Edinburgh.
Excerpts from the Council’s own evaluation report of September 2013 shows:
"that the [PB] initiative is highly regarded. The number of people rating £eith Decides as a way of allocating public funds as good or excellent has risen to 81% in 2012/13 compared to 75% and 76% in the previous two years. There is also strong evidence that the initiative encourages increased participation with 79% of evaluation respondents indicating that they had not attended a Council or NP meeting in the previous six months.
Evaluation findings also demonstrate the wider benefits of the approach, with both participants and applicants valuing the ‘community spirit/involvement’ as well as the opportunity to learn about various local projects. This added value is further evidenced through feedback from applicants. The Newhaven Rowing Club attracted new members through their participation, Edinburgh Garden Project received five applications from volunteer gardeners at the event and Lifecare reported increased interest in the work of the organisation."