Voting opens for Oak Tree Housing Association community grants



Voluntary organisations, community groups and schools in Greenock, are amongst the applicants to Oak Tree Housing Association’s £35,000 Our Community Our Future fund, which is now open to a public vote.

Aimed at communities across Branchton, Bow Farm, Fancy Farm, Grieve Road and Pennyfern, Our Community Our Future has been backed by a grant from the Scottish Government’s Community Choices Fund. Oak Tree Housing Association has brought in local community development agency CVS Inverclyde to assist with its programme delivery.

Submissions for funding cover a wide variety of health and wellbeing initiatives, ranging from arts and cookery, to therapy and emergency life support projects. Successful applicants to the £35,000 fund will be determined via a participatory budgeting approach, where decisions about how the grant money is distributed will be made by the people who live or work in the area.

People can read about each applicant and vote online for their chosen project until March 22 at www.oaktreeha.org.uk/ourfuture. Forms for postal voting can be downloaded from the site and copies are also available from individual projects.

Oak Tree Housing Association is also hosting an Our Community Our Future Fun Day at Inverclyde Academy on March 23, 11am to 3pm, where each project will be given a platform to pitch their ideas directly to the local community. As well as stalls and displays showcasing potential projects, with a ballot box where people can cast their vote, the drop in event will feature a host of activities appealing to all ages, including virtual reality games, face painting, arts, crafts and music. Refreshments and cakes will be available throughout the day.

Nick Jardine, chief executive officer at Oak Tree Housing Association, said: “As part of the Our Community Our Future process, we’ve given applicants help to develop and promote their exciting ideas and gather support over the past few weeks, ahead of the online vote opening.

“People will also be able to meet applicants and vote in person at our fun day in Inverclyde Academy next month. Collective online and ballot box votes will determine successful candidates and how the £35,000 will be allocated at the end of March. Grants must be spent by the end of March 2020.

“It’s been great to see such energy and enthusiasm amongst the people living and working in this area of Greenock. We are delighted to be able to give the community the opportunity to get directly involved in the decision-making process, choose what’s most important to them and help these fantastic ideas come alive.”

Cabinet secretary for communities and local government, Aileen Campbell MSP, said: “The Community Choices Fund puts decisions about how we invest in communities into the hands of the people who live and work in them. This way of directly involving people is going from strength to strength, establishing itself firmly in Scotland.

“Tackling poverty and community empowerment are two key priorities for this Government. We know that communities are best placed to address the inequalities in their own areas and therefore know what improvements can be made.”



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