Ready Steady…. Community Budgeting Training: How to get members of the community involved?


David Ramsay, Development Worker, Glasgow Homelessness Network:

How to get communities in Glasgow ready for this new piece of work I am involved in?

At the start of the year I was involved in delivering 3 Participatory Budgeting events across the city. The areas involved were Priesthill/Househillwood, Parkhead and Govan.

Money from the Scottish Government Community Choices Fund had meant that, in partnership with Glasgow City Council and local Community Planning partners £25,000 was available for each of the three local communities to decide where the money would be best spent, depending on what the community members thought was a priority to them at the time.

After this piece of work was completed Glasgow Homelessness Network have successfully applied for funding from Scottish Government’s Aspiring Communities program to deliver 18 months of free training across nine areas of the city, this will give local communities the opportunity to get ready for the changes which will be happening over the next few years.

The changes are that the Scottish Government have made a commitment to allocate at least 1% of the local budget for communities to decide how the money should be spent, this is called Community Budgeting.

The areas initially identified for Community Budgeting training are Glasgow’s Thriving Places: Govan; Parkhead & Dalmarnock; Priesthill & Househillwood; Ruchill & Possilpark; Easterhouse; Greater Gorbals; Drumchapel; Lambhill & Milton; Springboig & Barlanark.

Part of my job will be to encourage local people to get involved in the training that will be delivered in their local area. Taking part in the training will give them the tools needed to fully take advantage of Community Budgeting when it soon arrives in their area. After the training, they will then become Community Budgeting Champions who will be able to pass on their expertise to the wider communities.

In each of the 9 areas we will be also be working with local schools to deliver a Community Budgeting event. There is a budget for £1000 for each school although I think the monetary value in the process is secondary and the value is in the pupils taking part in the process.

Community budgeting could be the way forward for communities throughout our city in the near future and having pupils understand and being involved in the process at the earliest possible point can only be beneficial for everyone involved in making our communities a better place.

The next thing for me is to start visiting community groups to promote the project. The most effective way to promote work in communities is by pounding the streets and visiting projects personally. This is by far the most time consuming but has the most effect as you are able to meet people face to face and get a feel for each area you are visiting.

It is really tempting to rely on online advertising such as Twitter and Facebook or sending out leaflets to be displayed on notice boards and attending some local meetings and networks. Maybe less time-consuming but does it actually work?

With that in mind I decided that the most effective use of my time to make the community budgeting process a success would be to block off a full afternoon and go knocking on some doors to tell people directly about what was happening in their area.

  • List of community projects to speak to – check
  • Best route mapped out – check
  • Bus timetables on hand – check
  • Information leaflets– check
  • Glasgow rain – check

If you are reading this blog and live in one of the 9 areas, and would like to become a Community Budgeting Champion, or just find out a little more about the project I’d love to hear from you.

0141 420 7272