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Mayor launches new YOUth Making It Happen initiative

08 September 2020

The Mayor of Derry and Strabane, Councillor Brian Tierney, is calling on young people to come up with some exciting ideas to help their local area through a new process aimed at empowering and supporting local communities.

Derry City and Strabane District Council today announced that a budget of £20,000 has been made available, with support from Carnegie UK Trust, as part of a special Participatory Budgeting (PB) process to deliver a range of creative youth centred initiatives. Where the money goes will be decided by young people from across the eight community planning areas, who will vote to support projects of up to £1,000 from a £2,500 pot for each of the eight areas - Ballyarnett, Foyleside, The Moor, Waterside, Faughan, Sperrin, Strabane Town and The Derg.

Participatory Budgeting is a new approach in Northern Ireland to the allocation of public resources, ensuring that the right support is channelled into local communities, as decided by the people living there.

The new PB project is being delivered as part of the Community Planning process and a YOUth Making it Happen co-design team has been steering decisions on how the process should be planned and delivered. It's the first time that a Participatory Budgeting process has been led and co-designed by young people in Northern Ireland.

The group have been working closely with Council's Community Planning team and Community Places to shape every aspect of the process, from themes to award criteria.

Mayor Tierney joined some of the team for the launch this week at Guildhall Square, and praised the work that has gone into the PB process to date.

"Participatory Budgeting offers a real opportunity to empower local people and actively involve them in decision making and the distribution of support within their local areas," he explained. "Council were keen to involve young people in the delivery of this PB resource, and I'm extremely impressed at the progressive ideas and creative approaches that the youth co-design team have come up with.

"Despite the challenges presented by Covid-19 they have remained committed to the project, and are really keen to inspire other young people to participate in bringing about positive change.

"The next stage is the launch of the PB process which is open to all young people aged 12-25 across Derry and Strabane. We want to hand over to you and ask you to come up with some exciting new ways to enhance and improve your local area with the resources available. I'm really looking forward to seeing the entries, and I have no doubt we will be inundated with innovative ideas."

A spokesperson for the YOUth Making it Happen Co-Design panel said: “We’ve really enjoyed working on the project, we got to choose the themes and were involved in every aspect of the decisions – this has made it more youth centred and the process much more open. The fact that so many people will be involved in making the final decision about who will be funded makes it much more democratic. We’re not making assumptions about what people want, we’re letting them choose and that’s really important.”

Widespread public engagement has driven the Community Planning process to date and Council is committed to enabling local communities by giving them a voice and more control over what happens in their areas. Eight bespoke Local Community Plans are now in place, and it's hoped that initiatives such as Participatory Budgeting will become an important tool in the delivery of community-led change.

Groups of two or more young people can submit their entries via a two stage process, with an initial idea brief to be submitted online before a two-minute video is produced for submission to the online voting platform. Projects must be delivered by 28th February 2021 and the deadline for the initial entries is October 8. Participants are asked to take into consideration a number of themes when coming up with their idea, namely: Arts and Culture, Community and Environment, Education and Skills, Equality and Inclusion, Safety, and Sport, Health and Well-being.
For more information and full details on how to
get involved go to growderrystrabane.com.