Participatory Budgeting used to ‘Vote for Fun’ at Triangle
Participatory Budgeting (PB) is an innovative way to fairly and transparently invest funds into the community. It is based on the idea that: when the community has a say when money is spent in their neighbourhood, it leads to better decision making and to more people getting involved. It is a democratic process in which community members directly decide how to spend part of a public budget.
One of our long serving Board members, Noeleen Diver brought the idea of PB to Triangle Housing, thinking it was not only a fantastic idea, but that it aligned perfectly with our core values of Choice, Empowerment, Dignity, Respect and Inclusion.
Our Support Services directorate decided to create a ‘Vote for Fun’ project. Each of our 25 supported Living schemes across four regional areas was offered the chance to win £500, they had to come up with an idea of how they would spend the money, something that would encourage and promote social inclusion within their supported living unit/scheme.
We hosted a ‘Vote for Fun’ day where the schemes presented their plans to their fellow service users and everyone then voted for the best idea. There was one winner (each winning £500) from each of the 4 regional areas. Ideas ranged from gardening equipment, IPad’s, garden sheds, pamper products for a group of ladies, sensory materials to help with destressing, musical instruments, garden makeovers, BBQ equipment and we even had we had a group who wanted to create a pitch and putt in their back garden!
The winning ideas, each receiving £500, were:
- Belfast area – Decking and a gazeebo
- Ballymena area – Musical instruments
- Causeway area – Garden makeover
- Ballymoney area – ladies pamper products
It was a thoroughly enjoyable experience for service users and staff alike, and the service users are already working on ideas for next year!