Gorbals projects receive funding boost

Local projects in the Gorbals have received a funding boost thanks to the pioneering Gorbals Ideas Fund.

Gorbals projects receive funding boost

The fund is a community-led participatory budgeting programme, facilitated and supported by New Gorbals Housing Association, which in 2019 has funded 26 projects focusing on areas ranging from health and wellbeing to culture and diversity.

In total, 51 ideas and activities have been made possible by the Gorbals Ideas Fund, with more than £62,000 distributed since its inception in 2018.

Ten members of the community sit on the fund’s panel and design, develop and deliver community events where voting takes place on ideas put forward by local groups and individuals.

In the latest funding round, 274 local people over the age of eight voted to split £15,000 across seven ideas. The funding for this round was contributed by regeneration company Urban Union, New Gorbals Housing Association, and Glasgow City Health and Care Partnership.

The winning ideas include ‘Celebrating Diversity’ from the Parent-Teacher Association at Blackfriars Primary School. They intend to celebrate the cultural and ethnic diversity of the Gorbals through a series of community events focusing on Diwali, Black History Month and Chinese New Year.

Another project will see local health initiative SEAL work with Melissa Gillen, co-ordinator of the community group R.E.A.L to expand the mental health and wellbeing activities available in the Gorbals. A local resident, Melissa is an accomplished health and wellbeing practitioner.

Melissa Gillen said: “I got involved with the Gorbals Ideas Fund as I wanted to provide health and wellbeing sessions in my own area. As the Fund has a fantastic hub of resources which incorporates the panel’s skills and local knowledge, I felt this was the best opportunity and platform to deliver the sessions.

“Being a volunteer for many years, you like to think you’re helping make a difference, however, I was so impressed with how it gives people the chance to make decisions on what goes on in their area.”

David Reilly, development manager at the Scottish Community Development Centre, added: “Participatory Budgeting is a great way to increase and improve democracy in our communities. Gorbals Ideas Fund is a model of the value of a community-led Participatory Budgeting process, one that is deeply rooted in the community and where people are supported to come together to have big, important conversations about what matters in the Gorbals.

“I have seen the impact their funding and approach has had on the projects supported and on the people who have taken part in those. Gorbals Ideas Fund has used Participatory Budgeting to make Gorbals an even better place for all in the community.

Linda Malone, chairperson of New Gorbals Housing Association, said: “I’m thrilled that the Gorbals Ideas Fund has had this level of impact in the area in a relatively short space of time. Local people now have real and meaningful opportunities to use their experiences to shape what happens in their community and their neighbourhood. I look forward to seeing this feeling of ownership grow as the Gorbals Ideas Fund encourage them to have their say on issues that affect their lives and their area.”

Neil McKay, managing director at Urban Union, commented: “The Gorbals Ideas Fund is having a transformative impact on the local community. As a business operating in the Gorbals to deliver our Laurieston Living development, we’ve seen first-hand the passion local people have for their area. We are delighted to support the Gorbals Ideas Fund and in turn give financial backing to these community-led projects which can make a tremendous difference to people’s lives.”

Laurieston Living is currently delivering its second phase, which will see 173 homes and apartments delivered. The development recently won in the Excellence in Regeneration category at the CIH Scotland Excellence Awards.

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