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People to have their say on how money is spent.

NECN Contributor1 28th February 2016 Local News Comments Off on People to have their say on how money is spent.

A programme which is giving people the power to make decisions directly on spending in their areas will be rolled out to even more communities through a new £2 million investment .

The new Community Choices Fund aims to build on the £500,000 invested in participatory budgeting projects in 14 local authority areas in 2015-16 and the further initiatives already taking place across another six areas.

By increasing investment to £2 million over the next financial year the Fund will support this work to step up – and open up opportunities for other public bodies and community groups to organise Community Choices events too. Funding will be prioritised at work in deprived areas.

Community Empowerment Minister Marco Biagi announced details of the Community Choices Fund on a visit to the Cardenden Community Development Forum in Fife. The Forum organised an event in 2013 and through this engagement launched its community-run charity shop earlier this year.

He said:

“By creating this new Community Choices Fund and increasing our investment to £2 million we are putting our money where our mouth is on community empowerment.

“Every community in Scotland has different needs and challenges. We want to see more decision-making handed to local people – especially in choosing local spending priorities. The roll out of our pilot project will massively expand opportunities for councils, communities and public bodies to get people involved.

“Communities that suffer disadvantage do so in part because they are marginalised. Giving people a chance to participate means better decisions but also shows people what they can do. To truly tackle inequalities we need to empower the disempowered.

“Cardenden Community Development Forum was an early trailblazer of this approach. It’s now gathering momentum across Scotland with over 50 events giving people a direct say on budgets expected to take place in 2016, more than double the number organised over the last few years. We now want this fund to support a new wave of Community Choices events up and down the country.”

The 50 projects which are being organised as part of the 2015-16 pilot range from initiatives to allocate money at grassroots level in local community areas, to thematic work such as projects that are giving carers a voice in shaping local services.

For more information aboutt he fund visit their website by clicking here.

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