Clackmannanshire residents have enthusiastically taken part in local events to prioritise the projects they want to receive their share of the £100,000 funding from the Community Matters Fund.
Council Leader, Councillor Bobby McGill, said: "We were trying out this model of grant-making for the first time and we have learned a lot from the experience, notably, how willing local people are to play a part in the matters which affect them. With just under 1000 votes cast across the county, we've had an unprecedented level engagement from the community who really seemed to get behind the spirit of it."
Tillicoultry Coalsnaughton & Devonside Community Councillor, Ewart McAuslane, who has recently taken over as Chair of the Joint Community Council Forum said: "Community Groups are used to seeking sources of grant funding and often depend on these for their existence. The Community Matters Fund, which gives the communities themselves the opportunity to weigh up projects and make decisions based on local needs and aspirations, is an innovative idea which introduces the concept of Participatory Budgeting into the heart of the community."
To ensure Community Matters reached the heart of the community, community councils organised nine local events where members of the public learned more about the projects which were bidding for funding, and were then able to indicate which projects best met local needs.
A spokesperson for Menstrie Community Council said: "The decision event created a lot of interaction between those who attended and they were appreciative of the entertainment for the children. We felt that it went well and was appreciated by local people that they were able to make the decisions."
Participants also described the experience as positive. One voter at the Menstrie event said: "I have been inspired by the fact that the public were allowed to vote on community projects. It was nice to see a turnout and ideas across all sections of the community."
The projects which have been awarded Community Matters funding are across the county and include projects receiving revenue and capital funding.
Community Matters is funded by Clackmannanshire Council and the Scottish Government's Community Choices Fund. There was £100,000 available for community projects in Clackmannanshire. In the grant stage of Community Matters, the Fund received 58 applications bidding for more than £250,000.