The Richmond Fellowship Scotland has sent us the following report about their 2013 ‘Outcomes are Fun’ PB event. This is a report back about one of their four £20,000 processes, run and organised with members of their community.
"The aim of the project was to give over control and creativity to vulnerable people to achieve the type of outcomes they wanted. Projects were limited to ‘achieving outcomes that are fun’.
"This participatory funding event was set up by our Central Region to allocate its share of £80,000 available funding (i.e. £20,000). The event took place in a small central Glasgow conference venue, being accessible for public transport etc. Costs of the venue had to come out of the available funding pot. Teas, coffees, juices and scones etc were provided – all helped create a welcoming atmosphere. Some people experience real poverty and a bit of pampering with scones and jam, didn’t go amiss.
"A steering group was set up to develop the event. The steering group consisted of vulnerable people we support, as well as staff colleagues. Support staff helped supported individuals to discuss their ideas and supported them in making their proposals. Skill was needed to ensure projects and ideas were what people themselves wanted, and as such the staff skills were around creating the environment in which people could have their own ideas. Clearly this worked when one sees the range of funding bids that resulted.
"This is the first participatory funding event we have heard of, and as such it utilises the concept of participatory budgeting but brings it into the arena of service provision. People constructed their bids, wrote a summary of them and then presented a three minute summary of their funding proposal.
"The supported people voted on the bids using a voting ballot paper. Votes were impartially counted by a local Care Inspectorate Inspection Office (regulator) and our Board Chairperson.
"Our particular innovation is in bringing participatory funding to very vulnerable people, some of whom are quite clinically unwell or have a learning disability. We were very successful in supporting vulnerable people in engaging with developing their own ideas and projects.
The results were that:
- real participation was promoted;
- fun outcomes were promoted;
- real control was handed over to vulnerable people;
- real decision making – sometimes in quite difficult areas – was handed over;
- skills and confidence were raised substantially built for the people we support;
- organisational skills were developed – coming up with projects bids, structuring them, presenting them, working alongside others, having a real sense of purpose, managing the project implementation (if successful).
"We are keen to maximise the funding available to vulnerable people in realising their own projects – we have no funding as such for evaluation but may consider a survey to see what impact is being achieved."
- For more information email Austen Smyth at Richmond Fellowship Scotland
- Download the participatory funding booklet used at the event (PDF)