Clubs, community groups and organisations that bring benefit to their area will get the chance to bid for a pot of money in a funding experiment being staged in Lerwick and Brae.
According to Lerwick Community Council chairman Jim Anderson, participatory budgeting events (PBE) are a “great theory” that originated in Brazil, and have caught on in the UK.
Both Lerwick and Delting Community Councils have decided to put their £3,000 share of the £68,000 community development budget up for competition.
Additionally the Lerwick group has a £2,000 carry-over from last year, which together with match funding from the Scottish government will give it a £10,000 pot with which to fund projects up to a maximum of £2,000.
“As many groups and individuals as possible” are being invited to apply. Those who meet the criteria will then attend the PBE at Islesburgh on 21st May and can give a two-minute presentation of their plans, followed by a minute of questions from the floor.
After presentations are over, voting takes place and anyone who attends, even if they are not applicants, can vote for their favourite project. Ranked by score, each project will then receive what they have applied for until the £10,000 is spent.
Mr Anderson said: “We have really made it as broad as possible to encourage as many folk as possible, as long as they comply.
“Lerwick-based groups – Lerwick Brownies, the senior citizens’ club – can apply, the more the merrier. It could be for putting up information boards, park benches, planting daffodils or anything of the sort.”
He said that the event would be a chance to bring everyone together and get different groups speaking and swapping ideas and help build “community” in Lerwick.
Mr Anderson was particularly pleased that the local cash was being match funded. “It’s not often you get free money, but that’s as free as it get,” he added.