Hampshire County Council's 'Have Your Say' scheme, which involves local people in community decisions, is going from strength to strength, with two new grants approved for Test Valley and East Hampshire.
Have Your Say provides funding for local projects that have been chosen and then voted for by local people. The first Have Your Say grants have already been distributed to local Gosport projects by The Community Safety Partnership through their YOUdecide programme. More schemes in Basingstoke and Deane, Hart, Havant, and Rushmoor will ask the public to vote in the New Year on which local projects they want to receive funding.
Now projects in Test Valley and East Hampshire have the opportunity to apply for a share of £35,000.
Councillor Keith Mans, Executive Member for Communities and International Relations at Hampshire County Council, approved applications for £17,500 from both the Test Valley Strategic Partnership and East Hampshire District Council. These organisations will now invite applications for community projects and those that meet the criteria will then be put to a public vote at an open community event. Test Valley residents will also be able to vote online to allow more participation from rural communities.
Councillor Mans welcomed these latest grant applications saying:
"Have Your Say is an important way for people in Hampshire to have a direct involvement in how their communities are run. It gives local people a real voice in how money is spent in their area and encourages small scale grass roots community projects. It's a great way to improve their local environment and strengthen their community."
District Councillor Julie Butler, Portfolio Holder for Economy and Community at East Hampshire District Council, said:
"The innovative Have Your Say scheme involves local people in the decision process for funding in their community. It offers local projects the chance to see their ideas turned into reality. People of all ages and abilities will benefit from this grant programme and I look forward to seeing the results that local funding will make to the community here in East Hampshire. Having secured funding for local community projects we now want to hear from organisations from the district that are looking to run small scale community events and projects that we could assist in funding. We will let people know the details of how to apply in the next few weeks."
Leader of Test Valley Borough Council and Vice Chairman of the Test Valley Strategic Partnership, Councillor Ian Carr, said:
"I am delighted as the Have Your Say scheme will complement a variety of initiatives already implemented by the Council. These include the introduction of local budgets and community empowerment work we are undertaking as part of the Local Government Authority's Keep it Real programme. Combined, these schemes will help us to empower residents to take the lead in identifying what is important in their local area and achieve our aim to encourage communities to reach their full potential. Details of the scheme, including how to apply, will be announced in the New Year."
The Have Your Say scheme still has funds left and applications to organise and run small scale community participatory budget events are welcomed from local organisations including district/borough councils, town or parish councils, councils for voluntary service, community groups, community safety or other relevant partnerships. These organisations must have the ability to operate the scheme locally, and potentially link this with other resources for the community to make decisions about the funding of local projects.