A Successful Participatory Budgeting Process for Haringey!

On the 3rd March, a community voting event took place in Tottenham in a collaboration between Haringey Council and the Well Communities Team. This example of participatory budgeting allows local people to submit project ideas and present them to the community. This method of commissioning gives the community more control over how money is spent locally, allowing them the chance to run projects themselves and to decide what projects get funded in their area. This is the 9th Well Communities area to have used participatory budgeting since 2012.
More than 40 applications for projects were submitted in Tottenham, and the projects ranged from physical activity to creative drama groups and food growing. Over 100 local people attended on the day to vote, and with the room filling up early there was an excited buzz from the very beginning of the event. While people collected teas and coffees they were welcomed by a wonderful ballet performance led by a local group of young dancers who took to the stage showing a great amount of talent and passion. The presentations included group performances, demonstrations, fun facts and group speeches, with the presenters ranging from young people under 16 groups of elderly residents. The event was split into 4 rounds of voting, and while the votes were counted, there was locally sourced fresh food to enjoy.
The voting day ended with a ‘give back’ round, during which all funded projects were given the opportunity to hand money back to projects which hadn’t been successful. This meant that all projects who presented were allocated money. People were very generous, and each ‘give back’ was met by loud cheers from the audience. The participatory budgeting process was such a success that it is likely to be taken up in other areas of Haringey in the very near future.
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