Sovereign launches ‘Your Community Your Choice’ fund
Sovereign Housing forges ahead with participatory budgeting despite the pandemic, by partnering with VocalEyes and using the digital tool to provide a transparent, democratic and engaging process for improving residents’ local communities in Bristol and Abingdon.
This first year’s cycle of participatory budgeting — a process in which local residents decide how to allocate a portion of the £40k budget towards residents’ proposals — will operate from November to March 2021, despite the limitations on in-person events by using the digital platform.
Residents will decide how to spend the budget of up to £20k per area. Giving communities a say in how money is spent on the things they want to see it spent on is seen as a vital way of working together to make great places to live.
They’ll be given time to submit proposals using the VocalEyes platform, which will then be whittled down by an independent committee, based on feasibility and cost. Approved projects will then be made live for the community to vote on immediately.
Participatory budgeting is a vital community-building tool that directly involves residents making the decision on what they’d like to see funded most in their community.
Even with the current economic uncertainty, this is a great way for the community to come together virtually and engageMichelle Smith, Sovereign’s Head of Communities
Sovereign continue to adapt to the evolving impact COVID-19 is having on society, finding different ways to engage with residents via virtual platforms. Partnering with VocalEyes with its built in functionality – in combination with Sovereign’s community development team – closes the feedback loop and helps to deliver actionable outcomes on democratically suggested and locally adopted ideas.
We’re delighted to working in partnership with Sovereign Housing, and focusing our digital skills to provide innovative solutions for local democracy, decision making and turning great ideas in to reality.Peter Anderson, VocalEyes Founding Director & CEO
Sovereign has a commitment to engage with the wishes of residents through its Thriving Communities strategy 2020-24, with £3m invested. It’s an important part of Sovereign’s corporate plan to make great places to live. Making every effort with this first participatory budgeting process this financial year is important, whilst looking forward to an expanded community-driven process once communities can safely resume in-person engagement and events.
Now in year 2, this participatory budgeting initiative with tenants has been expanded to 4 areas throughout the UK with a budget of £170k.
Find out more about how to get involved and vote idea by visiting https://my.sovereign.org.uk