Young people took centre stage at PB events across Scotland this April.
At Old Kirk Muirhouse Parish Church in April, the North Edinburgh Young Peoples Forum were photojournalists for the day, taking photos and making a short film.
In Livingston, attendees at the Livingston United Parish Church PB event witnessed an accomplished pitch by the youngest speaker to take part – school pupil Josh Ure – on behalf of The Livingston Players Theatre company. Josh’s efforts ensured they finished first once all votes were counted.
At Aberfeldy Parish Church their PB event was hosted by Breadalbane Academy pupils Chloe Stones and Dora Talosi. Chloe and Dora had been working behind the scenes as part of The Breathe Project at Aberfeldy with youth coordinator Franny McGrath. Their school let them take two days off to attend PB training, and Chloe and Dora duly delivered a polished event, and did the whole thing in odd socks and slippers!
The PB event at Springburn delivered a warm and friendly atmosphere with some worthy winners. They included Musical Memories – a project to help people suffering from dementia – who took home £500. Springburn Guitarjamz won £900, and their first guitar session has already taken place!
CrossReach, and Elmvale Parent Council also won, and together these four groups decided to put some money back into the pot to help other projects gain funding.
During the break the Springburn Garden Allotments, Crossreach, and Friends of Eastfield Park exchanged contact details, and talked about working together in the future. Some of these organisations had never heard of each other before the event, so the value of awareness-raising of PB in the community was clear.
Over east, Gabriel Calvert of Making Dundee Home, played a key role in organising the Dundee West Church PB Event. We were delighted to be able to provide some employability opportunities for young people throughout the PB project.
Around £8000 was awarded after applications were submitted from the Dundee Drop In network, and associated projects. The network is made up of projects, many based in churches, which provide free hot food, other necessities, the opportunity to socialise. They also provide advice and information for people who are struggling to make ends meet and are isolated.
Each applicant made a short presentation and all of the 80 present voted on who should be awarded money.
Winners included Lochee cooking classes and wonderbox, Mainstreet Young People’s Group and the Parish Nursing Recovery Map.
The Dundee event had more money to give out as they supplemented the £4500 from the Scottish Government and Church of Scotland’s Go For It fund with £3500 from the Dundee West Church Sheila Tennant legacy.
Gordon Sharp of Dundee West said: “It was really a very positive and participatory event and great to see volunteers, members of churches and many folk who engage with the drop in network all voting together. And of course, a big thank you to the Scottish Government, Church of Scotland and staff of the city council for helping out. This is certainly the sort of thing that churches should do more of.”
The Church of Scotland has held eight Participatory Budgeting events across Scotland in 2018, distributing a total of £35,500 to a variety of local community organisations. The PB project has been keen to contribute to the Scottish Government’s Year of Young People 2018, and the input of young people in the PB Events has been considerable. Children as young as P1 vhave been voting and participating, taking part in outreach work in coordination with schools, and delivering inspiring speeches from young people to win funding. Employability opportunities have also been created during the project. Young people have had the chance to learn journalism skills, participate in film-making, and even host an entire PB event themselves.