01 November 2021

Pupils' funding choices for mental health and wellbeing projects announced

Children and young people have had their say on how funds are spent to support a range of positive projects and community causes across Aberdeenshire.

Participatory Budgeting (PB) is a democratic process in which community members directly decide how to spend part of a public budget.

Aberdeenshire Council allocated £5,000 to be spent to support worthwhile causes in each school cluster area. Schools applied for funding for a range of initiatives that will benefit children and young people’s mental health and wellbeing.

Voting took place amongst pupils from Primary 7 to S6 in schools across Aberdeenshire with the deadline for submissions on Tuesday, October 12. Winners include Aboyne Academy’s Make Lunchtime Better initiative which received £1,200; £1,900 to support Banchory Academy’s Learning Garden and a nurture room for Whitehills School was granted £1,200.

There were 37 project submissions; more than 1,100 young people voted and over 2,200 choices were made in total – between one and three votes were allowed in each school cluster area, depending on the number of candidates.

Participating pupils were presented with between two and seven projects to choose from. Voters had to use up to three equal votes, with only one vote being allocated to any one project. This allowed for a first-past-the-post voting system to be used. In areas with two valid projects, voters allocated one vote each, in areas with three valid projects voters were allocated two votes each, and in areas with more than three valid projects each voter was allocated three votes.

Cllr Gillian Owen, Aberdeenshire Council’s Education and Children’s Services Committee chair, said: “I am absolutely delighted children and young people across Aberdeenshire had their say on how money for their school is spent. It is important that children and young people are aware of their rights and have full input into decisions that impact upon them.”

Committee vice chair Cllr Rosemary Bruce added: “These projects will help make children and young people’s time at school even better as well as providing support to those who might need it. I would like to thank all the schools who put forward projects as well as the children and young people who voted.”

Projects that have received funding will run until March 2022. Details will be announced shortly about opportunities to apply for financial support when a second round of funding opens for applications for how some of this year’s budget should be spent.