Council propose new steering group approach to small grant funding
Posted on 22 Jan 2020
North Ayrshire councillors this week agreed a new approach which will help even more local community groups get access to small grant funding.
At a meeting of Cabinet on Tuesday, elected members agreed to make it even easier for groups to get involved in the hugely-successful Participatory Budgeting (PB) process. The new approach will create a dedicated, annual PB fund for North Ayrshire communities.
Participatory budgeting has proven to be an extremely popular democratic process where people are invited to vote where best to spend at a local level, giving them to the power to decide where funding is best spent in the community. Over the last three years 22,500 community votes have been cast supporting 505 local community groups and organisations.
The new PB fund will see Locality Partnership steering groups being set up in each of the six North Ayrshire localities – Irvine, Kilwinning, Three Towns, Arran, Garnock Valley and the North Coast.
Each steering group will be able to design the way they want PB to work in their locality, using the new PB toolkit, to make it easier for smaller community groups - who may not normally have applied for funding - to create effective proposals for small grant funding via the PB process.
Through the introduction of the steering groups, locality officers will help volunteers and community groups to learn more about PB and give them the skills and expertise needed to seek external funding and support and stimulate outside interest.
A total of £154,185 PB funds will be available in 2020 to share between Irvine, Kilwinning, Three Towns, Arran, Garnock Valley and the North Coast and the small grant participatory budgeting application process will be guided by dedicated North Ayrshire locality officers. This includes the £50,000, dedicated to supporting Young People’s initiatives, which is already distributed using PB approaches.
Councillor Louise McPhater, Cabinet Member for Communities said: “It is extremely important to us that our communities have a say in how funding should be spent.
“We have many groups and projects throughout North Ayrshire that are doing a great job to support people in the local community. I am confident that our network of Locality Partnership steering groups will ensure that even the smallest groups and projects have their chance to apply for funds. We hope that the projects which receive funding will help put them on the map.
“We would encourage anyone who is currently involved in a such a project, or has ambitions to start one, to please get in touch and submit an application.”
“The streamlining of local grant processes through PB will allow the re-direction of officer time to support groups with external funding applications, developing funding, knowledge and skills and stimulating interest in applying for funding. This will add value and increase external funding for local communities.
To find out more about North Ayrshire Council’s Participatory Budgeting schemes, visit www.northayrshire.community/get-involved/participatory-budgeting-in-north-ayrshire.