The recent Tak£500+ Participatory Budgeting Project exceeded all expectations with an incredible £76,412 allocated to 81 fantastic local community projects – and an event to celebrate this fantastic project took place at Lough Neagh Discovery Centre.
Around 100 people came along to hear how the Tak£500+ Project had benefited communities right across the borough and to hear more about Participatory Budgeting and how it enables local people to decide how public funds are used to address needs in their area.
Organised by the Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon Community Planning Partnership, an amazing 3,770 people voted for the projects they wanted to see receive up to £1,000 funding, and the impact these projects left on each area was remarkable. All projects were centred around the Take 5 public health message.
“This was only the second year of the Tak£500+ project and it really did exceed all expectations,” commented Councillor Peter Lavery, “and the success of this project is all down to the local communities who put forward their ideas and then made them a reality.
“Putting the decision making process in the hands of local people to tell us how public funds can be spent to address needs in their areas is vitally important and ensures that this money is spent in the best way possible to really make a difference and a lasting impact on our residents
“We are lucky to have such a rich community life in this borough and along with the Community Planning Partnership – and in particular the PB Working Group – made this project a huge success with lasting results across the borough.”
The event also heard from Kellie Howard, Renfrewshire Council in Scotland where PB is becoming embedded as a way of allocating public money – and communities are thriving.
Colette Rogers, Chair of Community Planning Strategic Partnership added, “This event was a wonderful reflection on just how meaningful and valuable the Tak£500+ Project is and demonstrated how powerful local communities can be at making decisions that leave a real and lasting impact in their areas.
“Hearing from Kellie was fascinating as it showed us just how successful PB has become within their council area in empowering local communities to have more say in their local area. This project is something we are passionate to build upon moving forward and we would love to welcome more partners on board to contribute their expertise and resources – as this is how we can increase our funding and support even more projects, with local communities reaping the benefits.”
If you would like more information on how you can get involved as a partner, please contact Michelle Markey on 0300 0300 900.
Also, watch this space for more details on the next Tak£500+ Project and how you can apply for funding for your community!