Sovereign Housing Association has teamed up with digital communications experts VocalEyes to help residents decide how £40,000 is spent in their own communities in Abingdon.
This first year’s cycle of participatory budgeting – a process in which local residents decide how to allocate a portion of the £40k budget toward residents’ proposals – will operate from December to March 2021, with the limitations on in-person events being overcome by using a digital platform.
Residents will decide how to spend the budget of up to £20k per idea, with Sovereign calling the Your Community Your Choice fund a “vital” way of working with residents to help shape the areas in which they live.
Any current Abingdon Sovereign resident over 18 can submit an idea, while young people over the age of 11 are also encouraged to get involved and vote.
By working with VocalEyes, people can submit their ideas using the digital platform.
The ideas will then be whittled down by an independent committee, based on feasibility and cost.
Projects will be made live, with communities encouraged to rally together and vote for the projects they like most.
Michelle Smith, Sovereign’s head of Communities, said: “Participatory budgeting is a vital community-building tool that directly involves putting residents at the heart of making the decisions on what they’d like to see funded most in their community.
“Even with the current economic uncertainty, this is a great way for the community to come together virtually and engage at a time when face-to-face communication is really difficult.”
Sovereign says partnering with VocalEyes with its built in functionality – in combination with Sovereign’s community development team – helps deliver great impact from locally adopted ideas.
Peter Anderson, VocalEyes founding director and CEO, said: “We’re delighted to working in partnership with Sovereign Housing, and focusing our digital skills to provide innovative solutions for local democracy, decision making, and turning great ideas in to reality.”
Image: Nelson Rd play park group
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