Assembly fringe event to highlight Churches work on community grants

Rev Muriel Pearson and the congregation of Cranhill Parish Church are featured in a new video that highlights the church's work on the Your Voice Your Choice project. And a fringe event at the General Assembly will explain how other churches can get involved and make a difference in their communities.

Participatory budgeting

Your Voice Your Choice is part of a larger Scottish Government initiative to involve communities in decisions on how tax money should be spent.

Working with Cranhill Community Trust, the church was one of four Church of Scotland congregations to take part in Your Voice Your Choice, which aims to allow parish residents to decide how government grant funds should be spent.

The other three churches were Carrick Knowe and Old Kirk Muirhouse in Edinburgh and St Andrews in Arbroath.

Each church invited community groups in their area to apply for up to £1,000 from a total of £5,000 available for each parish. They then held events where community members voted on which projects should be given grants.

Originally piloted in Brazil, participatory budgeting, to give it its formal name, has been praised for bringing communities together and instilling a sense of ownership and trust.

Since 2014, the government has been working with 20 local authorities across Scotland to try the approach. And last year the government created a £2 million Community Choices Fund which will work through community groups, churches and public bodies to reach some of Scotland’s most deprived areas.

The Scottish Churches Parliamentary Office plans to hold a fringe event about the churches experience of participatory budgeting during the General Assembly.

The event, to be held Tuesday 23 May at St Augustine’s Church, George IV Bridge, is open to everyone.

Find out about this and other General Assembly fringe events on the Life and Work website.