Argyll and Bute Council has launched its Supporting Communities Fund with a distinctly digital change.
The fund is open to community groups and third sector organisations including community councils and parent councils. Members of the public will have the final say on which projects receive funding through a vote in April 2018.
Groups can apply for up to £2,500 per project and more information on what can be funded is available in our Question and Answer section on this page.
Groups are encouraged to post their ideas for projects between 13 November and 22 December 2017, to let their communities know what they would do with the money and how it would benefit their area.
If you would like to apply to the fund, click on the area where you live on our map below to post your idea. You can also visit the website to see what ideas have been submitted, join in discussion, offer your support and find out more about the projects.
You do not need to register on the website to view the ideas. Those who register will be notified by email when the voting opens up next year.
Step 1The first stage of the process is the online ideas website. This is where groups can post their ideas of what they would like to do. This allows everyone to see the range of projects that are being proposed across the area, who they work with and the difference they make
Step 2The important part of the ideas website is that it allows discussion. Community members and other groups can post comments about what they like, ask questions to find out more about a group’s plans, offer ideas and suggestions and provide polite and constructive feedback on bits they don’t like or aren’t sure about.
Step 3Groups will still have to submit an application form and provide supporting documents like their constitution and accounts. The deadline for submitting application is 22 January 2018. Applications will then be scored and short-listed and a list of recommended projects will go to the Area Committee for their approval before going out to public vote.
Step 4The next stage of the process is the public vote. The Supporting Communities Fund is split into four separate funds – one for each of the council’s administrative areas. People aged 16 or over who live in Argyll and Bute will be entitled to vote in the area that they live to decide which projects will be funded. It puts the decision making directly into the hands of the community.
Step 5The project that received the most votes will be funded and then the funding will be distributed to the next most successful project that can be funded with the remaining money and so on, until no more projects can be funded. Projects that receive funding will have until 31st March 2019 to spend their money and will then complete an end of project report telling us what they did with their funding and the difference that it made.
How do I submit an idea?
See our ideas site users’ guide to posting an idea. This will take you, step by step, through everything you need to do to register on the site and post an idea. If you have any problems, then please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
What does PB stand for?
PB is an abbreviation for Participatory Budgeting. It is also known as “Community Choices” in Scotland.
What is Participatory Budgeting?
Participatory Budgeting is a way of involving communities in decisions about public finance.
Why are the grants being given out this way?
This is a way of involving the communities who benefit from the grants, in deciding how they are distributed.
Do I have to allocate the full amount of funding?
You can vote for as many projects as you would like to fund up to the allocation of the full amount but you don’t have to allocate the full amount available for that area.
Can you vote for projects across Argyll and Bute?
No –the Supporting Communities Fund is split into four separate funds – one for each of the council’s administrative areas. You can vote for projects in the administrative area that you live in.
How much money is available?
An equal amount is allocated to each of the four areas, in 2018/19 this is expected to be £24,500 per area. Any unspent funds returned from recipients unable to spend their projects funding the previous year is added to the amount available for that administrative area. The funds available in each area can therefore vary.
Can you vote for just one project?
It is possible, although we encourage you to vote for as many projects as possible within the allocated funds for your area.
Can you vote for more than one project?
Yes, we encourage you to vote for as many projects as you like within the available funds.
Who can submit ideas and apply for funding?
Constituted not-for-profit community groups and organisations, community councils and parent councils can apply.
Do you need to be a registered charity?
No. We also accept applications from small community groups and organisations, as well as social enterprises.
How much can groups apply for?
Groups can apply for up to £2,500. This can be 100% of the costs, or a contribution towards a larger project. When people vote, they are voting to decide whether the group gets the full amount that they have applied for.
What types of projects can be applied for?
Applications to the fund must evidence:
- The direct benefit to vulnerable individuals and groups in the local community.
- Partnership working where relevant
- How the project impacts any or all of the following:
- Social inclusion
- Rural isolation
- Capacity of the Community to develop
- Quality of life for residents
- Visitors to the area
- Health and wellbeing
- The local environment
- Opportunity to develop new skills
Applications for funding of Events and Festivals are expected to bring economic benefit to the relevant area and have a developmental aspect. This could be in the form of increased tourism, new opportunities for the local community or the development of a locally based interest. Expenditure on items considered to be ‘capital’ is not allowable via the Supporting Communities Fund.
Capital expenditure is spend on assets, the useful economic life of which is greater than one financial year and having a resale value. The term ‘assets’ would not include items classed as consumables, these being goods intended to be bought, used and replaced such as office stationery, small tools and equipment, clothing or toys.
Won’t it just be the usual groups/ organisations that receive the money?
It is the local community who decides which projects will be funded through a public vote. Every person aged 16 or over who lives in Argyll and Bute is entitled to vote. The names of the organisations and groups applying for the funding are not provided to ensure people are voting for the project and not the organisation.
All votes are encrypted and stored until voting ends. Argyll and Bute Council is unable to access the votes until the “counting ceremony” which will be held after the vote closes. The count is carried out electronically and there is a security audit run.
Can I change my vote if I change my mind?
Yes, you can change your vote as many times as you like, however it is only the last vote that you submit that will count.
How will I find out who has been successful?
We will keep this page up to date throughout the different stages of the project. When the votes have been counted, we will post a list of the successful projects here. We will also issue a press release, email people who voted and report to elected members.