LOCAL people in the East Neuk have had their say on how to spend £20,000 to improve the area and support people in rural poverty and isolation.
The Connect East Neuk consultation was organised by Fife Council to involve people in local decision-making. It used a new online voting system, CONSUL and a funding and voting event was held on 30 September in the East Neuk Centre, Anstruther.
All Ward 19 residents were invited to the event where they could vote for their preferred project option after seeing presentations from local groups. Fife Council Community Investment Team, Fife Voluntary Action and the Big Lottery were also on hand to discuss other funding options for groups wishing to progress their ideas and projects.
Councillor for East Neuk and Landward, Linda Holt, who announced the results explained: “Known as ‘participatory budgeting’, this approach was recommended by the Fairer Fife Commission as a way of getting more people to become active in their communities by giving them the power to decide directly where public money can best make a difference.”
Based on votes, four projects were allocated the full amount requested:
Waid Academy Outdoor Learning Community Allotment – Pupils from Waid Academy plan to work on an allotment project to learn skills and increase confidence.
Our Space will provide a safe space for people experiencing addiction and/or mental ill health. This will offer a time to connect with others and receive support from other agencies.
Pittenweem Tennis Club will replace the existing tennis hut which is no longer fit for purpose. The club has a large membership and helps people to keep fit and healthy at a low cost.
East Neuk Men’s Shed offers opportunities for men to meet and undertaken creative, physical and purposeful recreational and community activities.
Given the high quality of the remaining projects that had applied for funding, it was decided to split the remaining monies equally between the remaining 12 projects.
Cllr. Holt continued, “All 16 groups are winners, with all the projects receiving funding to go forward. Participatory Budgeting has been brilliantly effective in encouraging people of all ages to come up with ideas for addressing real needs in our communities and supporting them as they put these ideas into action. A massive well done to the Fife Council Community Development team in the East Neuk, but above all to our caring, imaginative and energetic communities.”
Sheena Watson, Team Manager (Community Development) said, “It is great to see so many people volunteering in the community.”
Fife Council’s Community Manager for the East Neuk, Janice Laird said, “We have funded projects that will help us address rural poverty and social isolation and this has been led by those who have the best knowledge of what will work – those living in the East Neuk of Fife.”
Photo Caption: Representatives from community groups and volunteers who received funding for their project ideas with Cllr Linda Holt (front row, fourth from left).