• Beth

Community Slice! Participatory Budgeting Led by Young People in Bolton

Updated: Apr 23

On Monday 4th November, we supported young people to host and deliver an innovative participatory budgeting event in an area of Bolton, Greater Manchester.

Following a youth leadership programme we'd been running, and a series of engagement and creative projects in other community locations, we invited young people aged 11 – 18 who live in Tonge Moor, Tonge Fold or The Haulgh in Bolton to use their voice, pitch their ideas, and help decide which projects should receive a slice of the local budget. Funds provided by Tonge with The Haulgh Big Local Partnership.

Young people had chosen 9 areas of focus that the ideas had to link to:

- Clean Places

- People to look up to

- Things to do

- Feeling Safe

- Hope for our future

- Including everyone

- Feeling Well

- Having a voice in our community

- Having a voice in our everyday life

The event was pretty emotional for us at Creative City. We were so incredibly proud of the hard work and courage of the young people - who spoke so well to the crowd, articulated their ideas beautifully, and encouraged and supported each other.

At the event 16 groups pitched their brilliant ideas for ways to improve Tonge with The Haulgh for young people, and 30 young voters decided which of the projects would receive funding.

Their order-of-preference voting system had been tested and selected in comparison to other systems during the leadership programme.

8 groups left with giant cheques confirming their win! (these fantastic cheques were made by young people during some of the sessions).

The projects that are going to be funded are:

Lianna's homelessness project

The Bridge's revision support club

Haroon's litter project

Castle Hill's cooking project

Olivia's art & animation club

Relax Kids mental health and wellbeing project

and 2 community festivals to be run by groups from Turton School

These are amazing projects that we can't wait to see come to life!

The projects that weren't funded will be supported in other ways.

Everyone in the room left feeling valued and listened to.

Feedback included:

"I feel this event has really heard me out and learned about us"

"I feel important and powerful"

"Today’s event was good presented and they cared about us"

"It made me feel nervous but somehow thrilling"

We are so moved and proud, we still haven't recovered from hearing this amazing feedback!

And what an awesome vibe. The room was decorated with artwork created by the groups, and the event was hosted by young people. The pizza arrived a tad late but was thoroughly enjoyed by all!

Big Local Partnership Community Champions helped make the day happen! We'd like to say a really special thank you to Tonge with The Haulgh Big Local Partnership for the support and willingness to create a meaningful platform for youth decision making.