Young people have their say on budget spending

Young people Aberdeen are having their say on the allocation of funding from the City Council's 2014/15 budget underspend.

Pupils from local schools have become involved in an ongoing 'Participatory Budgeting Process' – which is empowering citizens to make decisions on where and how money will be spent in their area.

City councillors agreed in June last year to distribute more than half a million pounds to community projects across Aberdeen.

The sum of £565,000 came from a £7.5million underspend on the revenue budget, which represented 1.18% of the City Council's gross revenue spend in 2014/15.

Of that sum, £100,000 was allocated towards under-12s clubs and youth work across the city's regeneration areas – Northfield Total Place (Middlefield, Northfield, Cummings Park, Mastrick), Tillydrone, Woodside, Seaton and Torry.

The number of 5–19 year-olds in each area was used to determine the funding allocation, with a division of 60% to youth work and 40% to work with under-12s.

Potential youth work providers were invited to develop and present a 'pitch' in an approach inspired by hit TV show Dragon's Den. The pitches could be aimed at securing all or some of the funding available

Young people were then given the opportunity to vote for individual projects that could benefit from the funding.

Sessions have recently taken place at Torry Academy, Walker Road Primary and Tullos Primary schools to get pupils involved.

There is a £12,000 budget for youth work and a £8,000 budget for under-12s work for the Torry area.

Aberdeen City Council's Convener of Finance, Policy and Resources, Councillor Willie Young, said: "Prudent management of the City Council's finances has allowed us to commit spending to a wide range of community projects.

"While we are currently assessing the council's budget for the year ahead, we are still working through the Participatory Budgeting Process for the previous years' underspend.

"The key point here is getting the young people of Aberdeen involved in decision-making– we want the communities to tell us how they want to see this money spent in areas that matter most to them."

Last year, a sum of £100,000 was set aside for improvements to Duthie Park, along with further money for park work at Auchmill Terrace, Cairncry and Halfield Road.

About £100,000 will go toward improvements at Hazlehead Pets Corner, £40,000 for work on the David Welch Winter Gardens Education Room at Duthie Park, £100,000 went to Transition Extreme, £25,000 for Hilton Outdoor Centre, £10,000 to Men's Shed social club charity, £10,000 each for the city's two Sea Cadet groups and £7,000 for the Old Torry Community Centre.