Falkirk residents get vote on how council will spend £3m

Local people across the district have been coming up with ideas on how to help Falkirk Council spend £3 million over the next two years - and now they need your vote to make their plans a reality.

From growing food to playing table tennis and building playparks, clubs, organisations and individuals have made plenty of suggestions through the council's Community Choices fund.

The fund was launched by Falkirk Council - working alongside Falkirk Health and Social Care Partnership - as part of a Scottish Government initiative to get more people involved in local decision-making.

Now, with a shortlist of good ideas. a public vote will decide which projects will get the first round of funding in their own council wards.

Cllr Cecil Meiklejohn, leader of Falkirk Council

Jen Kerr, a service manager with Falkirk Council's Communities team, said the response had been fantastic, with 114 project ideas in total.

"There were a lot of ideas for activities just keeping people busy and connected - social things - which is nice," said Jen.

Other ideas included projects for men's wellbeing, some involving cookery, several for children to get back out, socialising safely - and no fewer than three applications for table tennis.

Jen and the team were also surprised to see so many applications involving outdoor activities for young people such as building pump tracks and improving playparks.

She said: "We feel that's a reflection of the pandemic and people being out more and that's really encouraging.

"It poses a challenge for our parks and environment staff, with 15 applications so they've been looking at the applications, offering advice and creative solutions.

"But we want projects that are run for and by their communities, so if communities want additional parks they need to take some responsibility for them.

"That's started some really good conversations about how the council can't do everything and can people help."

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Council leader Cecil Meiklejohn said the scheme is about engaging more with communities - something they became better at during the pandemic.

She said: "It's also about giving our communities more say in how the council spends its money.

"We recognise that a lot of the time out communities can do things better than we can and if we can give them the tools to be able to do that.

"This is our first attempt at that engagement and we know there is going to have to be a lot of support given to our communities, especially as we move into capital funding to help deliver them.

"We hope it's something we'll be able to do more of as we go forward."

Voting is now open to choose projects looking for cash of up to £1500 and at least ten per cent of the vote is needed for a project to be successful.

Voting for small grants' projects closes on June 18,

Then, trom June 21 until July 16 people will then be asked to vote for larger projects.

Voting is online at www.falkirk.gov.uk/ccvote which has details of all the projects or you can call 07483 918555.

You can also request a paper ballot and return it by the deadline to Municipal Buildings, West Bridge Street, Falkirk, FK1 5RS.

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