North Ayrshire Council website has announced it will launch one of Scotland’s largest ever online participatory budgeting exercises exclusively for young people. From Wednesday 2nd November, around 21,000 Young people in North Ayrshire will be able to use Young Scot’s online voting platform to allocate £60,762 to youth projects in their local area.
The funding will be split between multiple projects across six different localities: Kilwinning, Three Towns, Irvine, Garnock, North Shore and Arran. The vote closes on Wednesday 9th November at midday. Using the online system, the results will be published later that day.
All young people aged 11 to 25 from North Ayrshire will be eligible to vote using the single transferable vote method. Young people will use their Young Scot National Entitlement Card to register their decision – or they can obtain a temporary number to vote if they don’t have a card.
Applications for funding were sought from organisations across North Ayrshire. All projects bring benefits to young people aged 11-25 and they can receive funding up to £1500.
Ahead of the vote, 130 Applications were received from a wide variety of organisations. Young people are now being asked to select from a shortlist of 69 projects including sports clubs, film groups and projects looking to increase mental health awareness amongst young people.
The first £40,000 in funding comes from North Ayrshire Council’s Youth Action Fund with the remaining £20,762 coming from the Scottish Government’s Community Choices Fund – an initiative to enable people to have a greater voice on local priorities.
Local Government Minister Kevin Stewart said: “I am delighted to see more than £20,000 from our Community Choices Fund being put into action in North Ayrshire, giving young people the opportunity to vote on investment, shape the services they use and address the issues that are important to them in their area.
“We know every community in Scotland has different needs and challenges, and that’s why community involvement in where money is spent is so vital. We want to see more decision-making handed to local people – we want to give communities more control to shape their futures and I look forward to seeing how this helps shape the community for young people in the area.”
North Ayrshire’s Youth Champion, Councillor Peter McNamara, said: “Having already run a series of Participatory Budgeting (PB) events geared towards our young people, we are well aware of how successful and engaging the PB concept is in our communities.
“That’s why we are delighted to again be able to offer our young people the opportunity to get involved and have a say in how this huge amount of funding can be used to benefit them – through community or extra-curricular youth projects across North Ayrshire.
“We would like to encourage all 11-25 year olds living in the area to get involved by voting for the projects that they feel would have the greatest impact in their locality. Voting can be done online and in schools, community facilities and at Ayrshire College – so there is no reason not to get involved.”
Louise Macdonald, Chief Executive of Young Scot said, “Participatory budgeting allows young people to have a direct say in the running of their local communities, putting them at the heart of how decisions are made. Young Scot is thrilled to be working with North Ayrshire Council on such a ground breaking and exciting piece of work and we can’t wait to hear what young people have to say.”
Students at eligible schools across North Ayrshire will cast their vote digitally. They can also vote at home using their Young Scot card number using the online platform.