In this blog, David Ramsay, Development Worker, Glasgow Homelessness Network, goes into detail about his work getting people involved in the Glasgow community budgeting events which took place last year.
A lot of my work has been focusing on planning and delivering three community budgeting events in the Govan, Parkhead and Priesthill/Househillwood areas of Glasgow. Money from the Scottish Government’s Community Choices Fund has meant that, in partnership with Glasgow City Council and local Community Planning partners, £25,000 has been made available for three local communities to allocate based on their own local priorities.
Part of my job has been to make sure that community groups are well informed about the opportunity to apply for funding and talk to other local people about the importance of their work. But how best to do that is an important question. When we are all busy it is really tempting to rely on online advertising such as Twitter and Facebook or sending out leaflets to be displayed on notice boards and attending some local meetings and networks.
Maybe less time-consuming but does it actually work?
Feedback from our first event in Govan told us that the majority of people who participated had found out about the opportunity through word of mouth and, in reality, few heard about it through social media or local meetings.
With that in mind I decided that the most effective use of my time to make the community budgeting process a success would be to block off a full afternoon and go knocking on some doors in Priesthill and Househillwood to tell people directly about what was happening in their area.
- List of community projects to speak to – check
- Best route mapped out – check
- Bus timetables on hand – check
- Information leaflets and application forms – check
- Glasgow rain – check
So off I went to try to speak to as many people as possible.
The first place I visited hosts all kinds of activities for the community and the first question I was asked when I went in was “so what’s the difference doing things this way?” A really important question as it reminded me that, while I spend a lot of my time thinking about community budgeting, lots of local people are still just learning about it and why it is important.
After discussing the benefits, they then started showing me around and talking about what they could improve in their project and how the local funding might be able to help them. So with them starting to develop some ideas I left them with the information and application forms, encouraging them to apply.
I also attended the local nursery that afternoon, asking the Head Teacher to share the information with the Parents Council and let them know about the opportunity for funding.
And as well as speaking to local projects, I also spent time with local people who were all really interested in community budgeting and wanted to be involved, which was great to hear.
So at the end of a busy afternoon what have I learned?
- That local people are still learning about community budgeting and we need to keep talking about it;
- That it is the easiest thing in the world to send another email or tweet to advertise the event but the information often doesn’t get to the people who need it;
- That spending more time going to talk directly to people led to projects who either didn’t know about (or understand) community budgeting in their local area applying for funding that they otherwise would have missed out on.
So as simple as it sounds always remember when you are busy and your to-do list seems to be getting longer and longer, the most effective use of your time when undertaking community budgeting is to get your walking boots on and knock on some doors to talk to people about what it is happening and how they can get involved.
Even in the cold Glasgow rain!
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