For the last few months, we at GHN/ All In have been delivering free training and workshops on Community Budgeting (CB) in areas all across the city of Glasgow. Don’t let the name Community Budgeting put you off – it’s not about teaching you how to spend your own money exactly!
In a nutshell, CB is the future. By the year 2021, instead of councils deciding how to spend all the money across the country, significant amounts of cash will be allocated to local communities, who then vote on what the money is spent on.
This means that local people who live, work or volunteer in the area have the say on where the money goes. You, as members of the community, will have the power to decide what will benefit your friends, family, colleagues, neighbours…the opportunities are endless.
Recently, we caught up with Sam and John – the ‘Community Champions’ from the Govan area. Both have attended the training and workshops, and are now confidently spreading the word to local groups and individuals. Sam and John’s message was clear. People in communities need to hear about Community Budgeting and need to be aware the impact it will have on communities.
When asked to sum up CB in one sentence, they said it’s “For the Community, By the Community”, and we couldn’t have put it much better ourselves.
Over the last few months, Sam and John have been busy spreading the word about CB. Passionate about involving and informing local people, to empower them to have their voices heard about what is important in the local area, they have engaged with many people from all backgrounds, keen to ensure that people know what the future holds in terms of how money will be spend.
We wanted to know how being Community Champions has made them feel, what they have gained from the training and workshops, and to find out if there is anything they would like to say to encourage others to become involved.
What delighted us was not only the way they have spent huge amounts of time meeting others and letting them know about CB, but also what Sam and John had gained from a personal perspective.
Both informed us that they felt as though being Community Champions had increased their confidence first and foremost. They were of the view that before becoming CB Champions, they perhaps might not have spoken to so many people, and they added that they have met some people who will have a positive impact on their own lives through meeting with a variety of services and groups that they did not know were available to members of the community.
Sam, throughout her involvement, stated that being a Community Champion has made her think more about her own future. She currently has a young child, and likes the flexibility afforded to her by being a Champion. She is considering studying Community Development in the future now, and feels confident enough to achieve qualifications in this area. While Sam was involved in local groups on some level, she has really enjoyed getting out and about, meeting new people who she perhaps otherwise may not have encountered.
Oh, and good luck with organising the street party Sam. Don’t forget our invites!
John has been unemployed since last August, and like Sam, was an active member of the community. He stated that he feels now they have both become a link between the ‘big organisations’ and the local people, and being a Community Champion has made him realise that so many people want to do something to benefit the local community. John added that being a Champion feels like he has been able to bring the community closer together, while networking and finding out about what the area has to offer in terms of local groups, classes etc. has been eye-opening for him. On his travels, John met someone who runs employability classes, and is working with them now to look at options for full time employment in the near future. John stated that, if he had not been a Community Champion, he would never have known this service existed.
We have been lucky to have Sam and John on board, and Govan is lucky to have them. The passion, enthusiasm and excitement they show for CB is infectious, and we have no doubt that both will go far in whichever area they decide.
But for now, we hope they continue to give us their precious time, and encourage others to become Community Champions in their own areas.
We will be running the free training and workshops in an area near you soon – follow us on Facebook and Twitter to find out more.