21 March 2022

Mental health and wellbeing projects supported through Participatory Budgeting

Members of the Education and Children’s Services Committee learnt what projects Aberdeenshire pupils chose to fund through Participatory Budgeting.

The Aberdeenshire Schools Participatory Budgeting project is a process that empowers young people to make decisions about where a proportion of the council’s budget is spent on something that matters to them.

In June last year the committee agreed for £85,000 to be allocated to pupils to vote on supporting applications focusing on positive mental health and wellbeing projects or activities within schools across Aberdeenshire. The Participatory Budgeting initiative was run in partnership with Young Scot.

The first round of Participatory Budgeting between 2021 and 2022, saw £63,840 allocated to 44 projects and initiatives seeing 37 schools directly benefitting.

Committee members agreed for the Participatory Budgeting process to be undertaken again between April and August in 2022, with successful applications funded from September to March, 2023.

Aberdeenshire Council’s Director of Education and Children’s Services Laurence Findlay said: “Participatory Budgeting is really important as it empowers children and young people to make decisions that will have a direct impact on them. It’s about giving them a voice and getting them thinking about using money in a way that will benefit them and their peers.

“I am delighted with the success of Participatory Budgeting so far as it is the first time it has been used in Aberdeenshire schools. I am looking forward to the next stage and seeing what projects our pupils support next time round.”

Avril Nicol, Aberdeenshire Council’s Head of Communities, Wellbeing and Partnerships, added: “Participatory Budgeting has funded improvements to the health and wellbeing support offered in our schools; enhancements to outdoor learning areas and greenspaces such as gardens, as well as sensory areas, all of which are so important in our children and young people’s learning and development.

“It is pleasing to learn about the positive feedback received so far. I would like to thank all the children and young people who took part and the teachers and staff who assisted. Much of this work was done during a global pandemic so it is a testament to everyone’s commitment to our young people getting this early taste of democracy and decision-making.”

To read the report in full please visit https://committees.aberdeenshire.gov.uk/committees.aspx?commid=494&meetid=19871