The Money for Moray Participatory Budgeting Group members are still reeling after their fifth and most recent Participatory Budgeting (PB) event completely filled the Grant Hall in Rothes on the 18th March, with some people left standing.
Over 300 people from across Moray packed the hall to see 36 groups giving short presentations in the hope of persuading the audience to vote for their project. There was £60,000 from the Scottish Government`s Community Choices Fund up for grabs following the group`s successful application to the fund.
The group had catered for up to 200 which is a normal turnout. Having such a large turnout created a few problems with parking and timing, with the event over-running slightly because of the huge number of votes to be counted.
After the votes were cast the audience were treated to a fantastic buffet provided by Sandy Henderson, Charlestown Cuisine. A free raffle then helped fill the time required to count almost 3,000 votes with 10 votes spread across each ballot paper.
The outcome of the count was 24 successful applicants including:
- Tuesday Table
- Keiran’s Legacy
- Moray Handy Person Services
- Friendly Access
- Speyside Gymnastics Club
- Speyside Drama Group
- Aberlour Primary School Parent Council
- Rothiemay & District Playgroup
- Elgin and District Men’s Shed
- Moray Sea Cadets
- Moray Fresh Start
- Elgin Street Pastors
- Sing for Life Speyside
- Three Harbours Association
- Keith 50 Plus Group
- Moray District Scouting
- Moravian Orienteering Club
- Moray Trampoline Club
- Archiestown BALL Group
- Moray Archery
- Finderne Community Council
- The Journey Home
- Moray Parent Carer Support Group
- Forres St Lawrence Cricket Club
Following the event one winning applicant, the Elgin Street Pastors said "Please do pass our grateful thanks to the members of Money for Moray for all the work they did in the lead up to and at the event at the Grant Hall in Rothes.
"Thank you all so much for the donation of £696.00 towards the work of the School Pastor Initiative of Elgin Street Pastors. I know my colleague Rosemary Young, the school pastor co-ordinator, was very surprised but also highly delighted at receiving the cheque having heard from other worthwhile projects that didn't receive anything."
Gordon Methven - Co-ordinator, Elgin Street Pastors
The theme of the exercise was “Health and wellbeing for all ages” and, very appropriately, the cheques and certificates were handed to the successful groups by Laura Sutherland, Acting Health & Wellbeing Lead from the Moray Health and Social Care Partnership.
Afterwards Laura, who had thoroughly enjoyed the event said ‘It was a real privilege to be part of such a successful community event which had a focus on supporting and improving the health and wellbeing of our communities across Moray. Those applying for funding were extremely enthusiastic and creative in their approach. The success of the event was down to all those who participated and the hard work and commitment of the Money for Moray volunteers.’
A spokesman for the group said the members were delighted at the most recent response to PB which shows the system is creating lots of interest. The group are looking to the future of PB in Moray and how the PB system might become integral to mainstream budgets in Moray. The group has been invited to organise a development day with Community Planning`s Community Engagement Group, the Community Planning Partners and officers involved with delivering Community Planning in Moray.
The Money for Moray Group was set up 2 years ago. It is the only Participatory Budgeting (PB) working group in Scotland which is made up completely of volunteers. These volunteers are drawn from Community Councils, Area Forums and the Federation of Community Halls and Associations.
The group had successfully run 4 previous PB events distributing over £210,000 before this most recent one which added another £60,000 to that figure.
Comprising of 15 members the group runs very much on a consensus basis with no single member having authority over any other. Instead of running like a normal “board” the group uses facilitation as the means to organising and making their events work and work well.
At the start of the process, when PB was practically unheard of in Moray, they received invaluable support from Moray Council`s Community Support Unit but after a couple of early events the group decided to go it alone. They have also worked with Participatory Budgeting Scotland (PB Scotland) and the Scottish Community Development Centre (SCDC) to gain the knowledge and skills to set up a PB exercise.
Following the most recent PB exercise the members will now go back to searching for further funding they can leverage into Moray to be disseminated through PB.