Review after thousands of votes for Falkirk groups rejected in £570,000 grants scheme
Falkirk Council has promised to look again at the voting system used for its new grant-giving scheme after thousands of votes were rejected.
For many groups – including some of the district’s biggest parks – it was great news as, across the council as a whole, 23 projects got funding that totalled £578,130.
But there was confusion around why so many votes cast were not eligible, with more than 5000 votes across the council’s nine wards being discarded.
In Falkirk North – which includes Westfield, Bainsford, Langlees, Camelon and Tamfourhill – of 4,851 votes cast, 2631 were rejected.
And in Falkirk South – which includes Hallglen and Falkirk town centre as far as Rosebank – only one of the projects got the required 10 per cent of votes needed to go ahead,
Friends of Dollar Park scooped £80,000 for its project to rejuvenate the park’s old dovecot after receiving 245 votes.
But none of the other projects in that area were successful and in total, 609 of the 1827 votes were rejected.
The Community Choices fund was introduced this year as a way to give communities more say over where council money is spent.
The team behind the project say that this was a pilot for the funding scheme and they always knew that things would have to be tweaked.
A Falkirk Council spokesperson said: “This was our first Community Choices initiative and we are collating feedback as part of our review.
“Unfortunately there were some invalid votes and we will be reviewing the voting process to ensure that all votes matter.
“We’d like to thank everyone for taking part and look forward to seeing positive and exciting improvements across our communities.”
The main issue seems to have been the fact that projects are voted on strictly according to the ward a person lives in.
However, several of the projects applying for funding will be used by people across the council area and that mean that many of the votes cast didn’t count.
Falkirk Council says it has included feedback on this in the evaluation of the pilot and are looking at changes they could make to the programme that could address the issue.
There will be a second round of funding, opening later in September, and the council has assured groups that they are looking at how the system can be improved.