In 2018 Newry Mourne and Down District Council in Northern Ireland had their first experience with Participatory Budgeting and it went really well.
They ran two processes under the banner of Communities Leading Change. One for adults, and one focussed especially on young people.
Funding was sourced by a partnership including Newry, Mourne and Down District Council, Southern Health and Social Care Trust, South Eastern Health and Social Care Trust, NI Housing Executive, Department for Communities and the Police Service of Northern Ireland and the process supported by County Down Rural Community Network and the Confederation of Community Groups. 21 groups were granted funding of £500 each in 2018.
There were two processes that year. One for a total of £3000 in small and rural areas, and a £7,500 youth PB process. Projects seeking funds for youth related activities submitted videos that could be viewed and voted for online and over 5000 online votes were received. Downpatrick Scouting Group was one of the successful youth groups and used their award to help towards purchasing new equipment for their members.
The successful youth projects were announced at a special awards ceremony on Saturday, 24 November 2018 in Newry’s Canal Court Hotel. Representatives from almost all the organisations which entered a project attended and enjoyed an interactive event where everyone was able to view each other’s project videos and have fun voting for best video, soundtrack and story.
A new participatory budgeting initiative in 2019 in the Downpatrick DEA and in Newry DEA comes after the success of the 2018 experiences, and there is commitment to keep repeating PB across Newry Mourne and Down in future years.
Newry, Mourne and Down District Councillor Oonagh Hanlon, Chairperson of Downpatrick’s DEA Forum said, “The Downpatrick DEA Forum is delighted to be hosting this year’s Communities Leading Change Participatory Budgeting Initiative. This scheme helps people find out about the wide range of positive community action being undertaken in their area."
This year groups seeking funding were asked to attend voting events to promote their ideas for how to spend £750 to benefit their communities. Over 450 people attended the two public voting events held in Newry and Downpatrick in November 2019.
Watch the video of the youth leading change event in 2018