A new film commissioned by the Church of Scotland explains how churches can inject dynamism into local communities by using an innovative method to distribute local funds.
Participatory Budgeting, or PB for short, involves allocating small grants from local authorities and others using people power.
The Church hosted an event on PB at Gorbals Parish Church in Glasgow last Saturday for churches interested in taking part in the process. People came from as far away as Dundee, Fife, and Edinburgh to hear how they can support their local communities to make funding decisions.
Chloe Clemmons of the Scottish Churches Parliamentary Office (SCPO) said:
“Participatory Budgeting, or PB for short, is a practical way for people to get involved in making local spending decisions. It is a way of sharing responsibility and refreshing local democracy.
“At this event, exploring participatory budgeting for churches, delegates had sessions with representatives from churches who have already hosted successful PB events giving out £20,000 to their communities, along with practical sessions about how PB works.
“Delegates left the event inspired to find opportunities to use PB locally.”
PB was developed in Brazil as a democratic way to allocate funds to where they were most needed.
The Scottish Government created its own version of participatory budgeting in 2014 and in 2016 it created a £2 million Community Choices Fund to create participatory budgeting opportunities for authorities and community groups, including churches, with a particular focus on deprived areas.
Earlier this year the Church of Scotland received funding from the Scottish Government Community Choices Fund for four congregations to learn about participatory budgeting and host an event where community members decided which local projects should be funded.
Each community had £5000 to distribute and a total of 28 community projects were funded.
The Church and Society Council produced the video as part of its Speak Out initiative ‘Doing Politics Differently’.