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Video of People's Fund, Back on the Map, Sunderland
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About The People's Fund

This video documents a participatory grant-making process which took place in Back on the Map New Deal for Communities (NDC) in Hendon, Sunderland in November 2005. Over 100 residents came together to decide how £70,000 of community money should be spent in two events called 'The People's Fund'. The video records what happened at the second of these events.

Before the event took place local residents were asked what they thought the main priorities for their area were using techniques such as Participatory Appraisal and group deliberation. Priorities, which included transport, crime, young people, events and festivals and drugs, were then converted into thematic allocations for the spending the £70,000.

The spending of the community money had previously been decided by a small panel of people who assessed and prioritised written applications from community groups. In the People's Fund, things worked rather differently. Community groups were invited to apply for the money to fund projects in the thematic headings agreed by the community previously. However, instead of filling out a long application form and waiting for a small panel to decide, the community groups completed a basic pro-forma and were invited to present their projects to the community at the People's Fund event.

At the People's Fund event each Community Group was given 3 minutes to present their project idea to an audience made up of local residents, to explain why they needed the money, what the project would involve, and how it would benefit the local community. Because not everyone involved would have spoken to a large audience in public before, applicants were offered training and support beforehand.

The audience was made up of local residents who had replied to an invitation to attend the event. For many, it was the first time they had attended a meeting organised by the NDC. They received basic information about the project before the event and were given a chance to ask questions after hearing each project proposal. After lunch residents were asked to give each project marks out of 10 using electronic-voting. This technology enabled everyone to hear the results that day. Signposting and funding advice was made available to groups who were unsuccessful in applying for money. When the results had been announced participants were asked to give their views on the day in order to improve the process for future events.

The event came about partly because Back on the Map were looking for a new way to re-engage residents, councillors and community groups in their activities. With the support of the Participatory Budgeting Unit, Back on the Map officers and Community Panel worked together to develop the People's Fund event. Watch the video to find out more about the event and its impacts.

You can find other multi-media resources on PB here.