Sunday, 24 November 2013 11:16

Locals decide who gets rural funding

Written by  Ruralcity Media
Locals decide who gets rural funding

RURAL residents were able to decide which with community organisations benefited from grants in East Durham.

Some 38 local groups applied for a share of the £85,000 pot, which is being made available through all of County Durham's Area Action Partnerships (AAPs).

The funding has been provided by East Durham Rural Corridor AAP.

Members of the public were able to vote on their favourite projects at the East Durham Rural Corridor AAP event on Saturday (23 November) at Sedgefield Community College.

Voters aged 10 or over who live, work, volunteer or studied in the East Durham Rural Corridor AAP area were eligible to have their say on projects aimed at benefiting the local community.

After viewing the projects people will be asked to complete a ballot paper and vote for which 4 projects they would like funding to be awarded to.

This approach, known as 'participatory budgeting', has been tried in several areas in the past, including East Durham Rural Corridor AAP area but this is the first time it has happened right across County Durham.

During the event the local community will also be given a chance to take part in an exercise to look at how the Council saves the predicted £100m from its budget.

Councillor Brian Stephens, Cabinet member for neighbourhoods and local partnerships, said "It's really important for the council to listen to the views of local people and for local people to have a greater say on important, and sometimes difficult, council decisions.

"Therefore we will be asking people to take some time out and comment on how they think the council can reduce its budget as a result of government spending cuts. And finally there will also be an opportunity to take part in the consultation on the County Durham Plan."

Those attending were also be given the opportunity to decide on local priorities for the next year in their AAP area.

Buses to and from the event were laid on for residents who wanted to vote but who lacked transport.

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