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The Boston Placecheck project

This project is grass roots neighbourhood intervention, working with residents in neighbourhoods to find out the qualities of a place – what is good, what is bad and what improvements are needed.

Overview:

Residents are invited to take part in a walking audit of their neighbourhood highlighting areas of concern, areas to be proud of and what improvements are needed. This is then put together in a report which then becomes the working document which service providers, organisations and agencies can use to help focus their service delivery.

An important element of the project involves residents having the opportunity to infl uence how improvements to their area can be delivered via a £10,000 Neighbourhood Budget, which forms part of the overall funding received from the Health and Well-Being Programme for this project.

Organisation:

Boston Borough Council

Aims:

The aim of the Placecheck Project is to engage and empower the local community, allowing greater control and ownership over the decisions which shape their lives and neighbourhoods. By building social capital within each neighbourhood, it will allow long term sustainability by giving residents the skills, experience and confi dence so as to sustain their involvement in local decision-making.

Where:

Boston Borough Council (BBC) in partnership with South Lincolnshire Community and Voluntary Service (SLCVS) manage a project funded by Lincolnshire County Council and NHS Lincolnshire’s Health and WellBeing Programme called the “Boston Placecheck Project”.

The project has been set up to run from July 2009 to June 2011 and will work with 5 below ward level neighbourhoods, which have been identifi ed as being within the 6 most deprived wards of Boston.

 

How:

Within each of the 5 chosen Placecheck Areas, a fully constituted neighbourhood steering group is established. This group then facilitates the £10,000 Neighbourhood Budget under a Service Level Agreement between BBC, SLCVS and the respective Neighbourhood Steering Group.

Each Neighbourhood Steering Group, fully supported by the Community Development Teams from both BBC and SLCVS is then responsible for delivering their own participatory budgeting event using the small grants allocation model for distributing funds. Under the Placecheck Project this is known as UDecide .

The criteria for any organisation, service providers wanting to submit a bid to the Area is highlighted through an area’s placecheck report as this is the document which determines the aims and objectives of each particular placecheck neighbourhood steering group.

Residents have the opportunity to vote for the projects they would most like to see delivered in their neighbourhood. Voting cards are delivered to every household within a specified area up to 1 week prior
to the ‘Decision Day’ event. They are invited to post their votes into ballot boxes which are positioned in prominent locations around their area, such as local shops, pubs, and community meeting areas, or they can come along, on the day, and talk to the organisations who have submitted projects before making their decisions. The votes are then counted and the successful projects are announced.

Who:

  • Boston Borough Council (BBC)
  • South Lincolnshire Community & Voluntary Service (SLCVS)
  • Lincolnshire County Council
  • NHS Lincolnshire

What:

To date we have supported 2 placecheck areas to have their events with the third scheduled towards the end of 2010. The remaining 2 neighbourhoods will run theirs before the end of the project in June 2011.

It is fair to say that this is an innovative way to deliver participatory budgeting in so much as; the community manage the funds, the community set the criteria, the community work alongside service providers and the community decide what services are delivered.

Contact:

Madelaine Eyre
T: 01205 314340
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You can write to the
Participatory Budgeting Unit
through our Manchester Office.

Participatory Budgeting Unit
C/o Church Action on Poverty
3rd Floor
35 Dale St
Manchester M1 2HF
UK

Office Tel: 0161 236 9321
Fax: 0161 237 5359

The PB Unit is a project of Church Action on Poverty, a charity (charity no. 1079986) and company limited by guarantee (company no.3780243)

 

 

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