Everyone a winner at #YouChoose3

Moray Foodbank’s Chair, Kathy Ross, with Cllr Louise Laing, tsiMORAY’s Elidh Brown, and Moray Foodbank Project Manager Mairi McCallum

Every group who took part in tsiMORAY’s latest Participatory budgeting (PB) programme, #YouChoose3, was celebrated and presented with a Certificate of Participation at the ‘Big Celebration’ event last week.

Award announcements were made by Louise Laing, Councillor, Chair of Communities Committee, The Moray Council for the ‘Connecting our Communities’ theme; and by Laura Sutherland, Acting Lead for Health and Wellbeing, Health and Social Care Moray for the ‘Be Healthy’ theme, with Moray Foodbank and Elgin and District Men’s Shed receiving most votes for both themes.

Holly Hendry, Scottish Recovery Network, provided an informal connecting activity, to relax and involve people in the event, which was followed by a light lunch, refreshments and a speech by Paul Johnson, Moray Alcohol and Drug Partnership Manager.

Paul said: “The more I see and learn about the PB process the more I understand and appreciate the value of it … the flexibility that smaller projects bring in terms of being in direct contact with people and themselves being beneficiaries of the small grants, run by the people for the people.”

Elidh Brown of tsiMORAY takes on the story: “This time round, we at tsiMORAY were delighted to be able to take forward the 50/50 method of allocating funds in both themes. This meant that the groups with most votes received the full amount requested, up to the first 50% (approx.) of the total funding available, with remaining applicants receiving a fair share of the rest, rewarding effort and participation.

“50/50, first introduced through Speyside YP Decide, was very well received on this occasion, judging by the smiles and many positive comments, including participants expressing feelings of ‘validation’, ‘excitement’ and ‘connectedness’.

“When asked what went well about the event, one participant commented: “meeting other people, listening to their projects, and the opportunity to network – community engagement and empowerment”. Four more responded, ‘Everything!’ and several added that they were already looking forward to #YouChoose4!”

Laura Sutherland added: “Well done to everyone taking part. We are all courageous and have chosen to do things differently. This means working in a different way with our partners and with people and communities in Moray.” Laura has allocated a Public Health Area Coordinator to support each ‘Be Healthy’ project going forward.

tsiMORAY will continue supporting successful groups from both themes, through networks, forums, relevant training, development opportunities and events,” Elidh confirmed. “We will continue to encourage sharing of resources and the development of meaningful partnerships or collaborations.”

The Big Celebration was well attended, and many who took part showed an interest to connect, learn more, join in celebrations, and get involved in future PB developments.

Heidi Tweedie, Moray Wellbeing Hub Champion and Director, brought the event to a close with a lively presentation, introducing the newly developed Moray Mental Health Pathway, a simple and effective tool to help people navigate Mental Health and Wellbeing services in Moray. The Pathway can be found on http://moraywellbeinghub.org.uk/.