The initiative saw participatory budgeting* piloted in rural and urban settings, with £130,000 of joint Council and Scottish Government funding made available via small grants.
It preceded this year’s Your Stirling: You Decide, which saw £700,000 of Council investment handed over to communities as Participatory Budgeting was rolled out in full across all of Stirling’s seven electoral wards.
Nearly 400 residents from across both rural and urban communities voted at two separate events to allocate £65,000 of funding to eight rural schemes and the same amount to 11 urban projects.
All applications had to address at least one of the Stirling Plan’s key themes – to make Stirling and its people Prosperous, Healthy, Achieving and Resilient (PHAR).
Some of the successful projects to have received funding and make a positive difference in communities are:
- A programme of events in Aberfoyle Parish Church that brings lonely people together
- New and repaired play equipment for the playground at Callander Primary School.
- A community-run newsagent and post office when both were under threat of closure
- A new 4x4 vehicle for Killin Mountain Rescue Team
- A rural outreach programme around domestic violence, forced marriage and honour based violence for black, minority, and ethnic women
- A community fitness trail in Cambusbarron
- Refurbishment of a Boxing Club in Plean
- Developing King’s Park into Scotland’s first dementia friendly park
- Starter packs for homeless people taking on new tenancies through charity, Start Up Stirling.
A positive difference in communities
Convener of the Community Planning and Regeneration Committee, Cllr Chris Kane said: “It is really pleasing that so many people have created such a broad brush of projects through this money to make a positive difference in communities across Stirling.
“While this was an important learning experience that helped inform this year’s participatory budgeting project, it also proved a transformational initiative in its own right, empowering people of all ages and making a real different in inspiring projects across many different communities”
Tremendous work and commitment
Vice Convener of the Committee, Cllr Maureen Bennison said: “I would like to pass on my congratulations to the Communities Team for their tremendous work and commitment in organising and implementing this programme last year.
“This pilot gave residents across Stirling the opportunity to engage with their local communities and deliver a wide variety of innovative and important projects. They should be extremely proud at their achievements. A huge well done to all.”
In celebration of the Year of the Young People 2018, participants in Your Place: Your Priorities were invited to submit proposals that could create opportunities specifically for this age group (8 – 26 years old).
One project led by young people was the redevelopment of the youth space at Cornton Community Centre.
Two local teenagers, Scott McArthur and John Toon, were responsible for the transformation of the important community facility, with support from Council Officers and Cornton Action Planning Partnership (CAPP).
After completing the application and successfully pitching the idea to secure just over £3,000 of funding, Scott and John were involved in every aspect of the project’s delivery. This included meeting contractors, attending community council and CAPP meetings and consulting users of the centre.
One company, Brighter Blinds, were so impressed at the young duos actions that they offered to donate blinds for the project.
The refurbishment was completed earlier this year, with new lights, soft furnishings and appliances creating a bright, welcoming space that is used, not only by young people, but all residents in the community.
Scott, now a fifth year pupil at Wallace High School, is continuing to work to improve his community.
He was also the youngest of 24 Budget Delegates who helped verify the 770-plus community improvement ideas that have been submitted as part of Your Stirling: You Decide – Stirling’s official take on Participatory Budgeting.
Scott said: “I got involved to see people’s ideas change their community.
“I’m sure other young people will have stuff to say as well but may be too shy. I’m sure they would be fine and it could help boost their confidence and let them meet new people by getting involved.
“I got involved in Your Stirling: You Decide to encourage other people to get involved as well and have a chance to get their projects done.
“I think it’s for the benefit of young people to get involved and the whole community can see the benefit of it. When they get older, their kids might also be involved in projects.”
Background info and picture details:
* Participatory budgeting is about local people having a direct say in how to spend part of a public budget. In October 2017, the Scottish Government and COSLA agreed that at least 1 per cent of local government budgets will be subject to Participatory Budgeting by the end of the financial year 20/21.
Pictured at the refurbished Cornton Community Centre are representatives from Cornton Community Council, officers from Stirling Council’s youth team; Morag McLoughlan, Service Manager, Schools Learning and Education (back right); Cllr Danny Gibson (front, far left); Lynne McKinley, Team Leader in Stirling Council’s Communities Team (front, second left); Scott McCarthur (front, centre).
For more information on participatory budgeting in Stirling, visit: https://my.stirling.gov.uk/youdecide