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The Village Spend, Coedpoeth, North Wales

Together Creating Communities, a broad based community organisation, together with Help the Aged and the Community Council in Coedpoeth, used precept funds in a PB process.

Overview:

In 2006 the Community Council in Coedpoeth used precept funds in a PB process. It was promoted by community groups and local leaders. A leaflet was distributed to all residents in the village informing them of the process and inviting them to a public meting. At the first public meeting participants were asked to suggest project ideas under pre-prepared themes. These projects ideas were prioritised and the six most favourite were selected. Project ideas were costed and presented at a second public meeting for approval.

A parallel prioritisation process was held with the primary school children who fed in their ideas for project proposals.

The projects put forward were: a controlled pedestrian crossing; refurbishing the war memorial, improved seating in a public open space; tree planting; transport for lunch club and improved sports facilities.

This is the first instance of a community council using some of it's precepts to fund a participatory budgeting project.

Organisation:

Together Creating Communities

Aims:

To engage local residents in selecting priorities for Community Council money.

  • Engage residents in PB process with Community Council
  • Encourage new Community Councillors to come forward
  • To enable taxpayers to have a say in how money is spent
  • Develop citizenship in local school children
  • To trial the PB model in Wales
  • To engage policy makers in Wales
  • To develop a model of engagement in budgets for older people.

 

Where:

Coedpoeth is a village in the county borough of Wrexham in north-east Wales.  It has a population of 4,721 as measured by the 2001 census and is one of 34 communities (47 wards) in Wrexham County Borough.  It's name translates into English as meaning burnt or wood, believe to derive from the production of charcoal for the smelting of iron and lead that was carried out in this area in Roman times.

But the 20th century saw a huge decline in traditional industries, and they and the railway which served them have all disappeared.  Today Coedpoeth is largely a dormitory village supporting people who commute to work across a wide area including Manchester and Liverpool.

The village represents one political ward within Wrexham County Borough.  The latest census figures suggest that, on the whole, people in the village are financially secure and there is little evidence of deprivation.  But the figures for Lower Level Super Output Areas (smaller areas to identify pockets of difference) indicate significant variations across the village.

 

How:

  • A Village Spend Steering Group was formed from local voluntary organisations to plan the process.
  • Priorities and project ideas identified at the first public meeting
  • Parallel process to identify project ideas in the local primary school.
  • Projects worked up and costed
  • Projects prioritised and selected for funding at second public meeting
  • Project ready for implementation by County Council


£20,000 precept funds were made available. This money comes from council tax and is held by the Community Council.

Who:

Coedpoeth Community Council, Help the Aged in Wales,
Together Creating Communities, Association of Voluntary Organisations in Wrexham, Wrexham County Borough Concil and the PB Unit.

What:

  • Although the Village spend pilot was a small initiative it established a strong case for further PB initiatives in Wales and in rural areas.
  • Residents and school pupils engaged about what was good about their village and what needed improvement.
  • The process affirmed the work and leadership of the Community Council.
  • The process increased budget literacy.
  • There was a sense of ownership of the resulting projects.
  • The issue of putting in a pedestrian crossing led to local people building a relationship with the local Co-op Supermarket and persuading them to put money into the crossing scheme.
  • PB addresses citizenship in terms of rights, roles and responsibilities and worked well as a vehicle within which to engage the school council.

 

Contact:

Bill Ellis-Jones
T: 01978 262588
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Participatory Budgeting Unit
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