£30,000 is up for grabs in a new participatory budgeting fund launched by Lochaber councillors this week. Instead of only councillors deciding how their ward discretionary budget is spent, we’ve set aside this substantial proportion for local residents to decide during a public vote in September. This follows a successful pilot last year when young people decided the priorities.
This time round, the funding pot is bigger, but we are aiming part of the funding towards specific geographical areas. Applications are invited from groups or organisations in one of the four school catchment areas in Lochaber – Ardnamurchan, Kinlochleven, Lochaber High and Mallaig. This means more rural areas shouldn’t be disadvantaged in the public vote, ensuring money can still go to projects in those areas. Projects covering a wider area can bid for money from a pan-Lochaber fund. The most important criteria are that any project must support activity, which improves the lives of people living in Lochaber.