Clackmannanshire Council has agreed to fund an innovate project worth £100,000 making it possible for communities to take part in decisions on spending of budgets on projects and activities which address the priorities of their communities.
The decision to fund the pilot project, known in Clackmannanshire as 'Community Matters', follows a period of discussions between the Council and community councils on how the Council can better design services for communities at a time when public budgets are shrinking. It has been made possible by match funding from the Scottish Government through its 2016 Community Choices Fund.
The project aims to allocate funding to community-based activities which address community priorities under two categories: reducing inequality for those at greater disadvantage and community environmental and social projects. As well as making decisions about how budgets are spent, Community Matters will support community representatives themselves to explore how communities want to be engaged in the matters which are important to them.
Council Leader Cllr Bobby McGill said: "The Community Matters Pilot is the first step to using a grant-based approach to increasing the participation of local people in budget decisions on a budget for community-conceived projects which will make a visible difference in communities. As we learn from and develop the process, the longer-term aim will be to consider greater involvement in the design and allocation of budget for wider community-based services."
The Council will work in partnership with Clackmannanshire's community councils to agree and co-ordinate the process by which local people will get involved in how the £100,000 is to be spent across communities. The collective knowledge, skills and networking abilities of community councils to mobilise local communities will be crucial to the project.
The Chair of Clackmannanshire's Joint Community Council Forum, Jon Jordan,said: "Community Councils see this as an opportunity to involve their communities. It should strengthen local democracy - an issue that we have speaking to Clackmannanshire Council about for some time. It will also help us engage with communities more effectively."
There will be further announcements as the project rolls out and community council can provide residents with more information about how they can become actively involved.