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The phrase participatory budgeting (PB) is widely recognised but perhaps not fully understood – at least not in the way that it’s being practised elsewhere in the world. PB Scotland is hosting a major conference later this month at which some of the US and Canadian experience of PB will be shared. In many other countries, PB is completely normal and has been mainstreamed for years. For instance, Paris commits 5% of its capital spend (£89m) to a participatory process. That’s the equivalent of 45 euros for every citizen – no wonder Parisians engage in such numbers.
By The Guardian
Arnaud Carnet was crossing Paris on his bicycle one day when something strange caught his eye: a dilapidated old urinal stationed at the foot of the high walls of the last operational prison in the city.
This graffitied, ripe-smelling structure was far from a standard street pissoir. Carnet discovered that it was in fact the last remaining 19th-century vespasienne urinal in the city. He decided he needed to save it.
“It no longer conforms to the comfort standards of today,” he says of the urinal (an understatement). “But it’s a piece of heritage and it’s in a terrible state in the middle of the boulevard – it’s not possible to just leave it like that.”
In January, Carnet submitted a proposal to restore the vespasienne to Paris’s participatory budget scheme, which allows residents to vote on how they want the city to spend €100m (£89m) – 5% of its capital budget.
The urinal is “part of the great Parisian history of public sanitation,” he says, though he admits he’s never used it himself. “The participatory budget is an opportunity to give it a second youth.”
Carnet’s project was one of 430 that went to public vote between 6 September and 22 September this year. Sadly for him, the vespasienne was not one of the 11 major projects and 183 smaller propositions that earned enough votes to become reality. Instead, Parisians chose projects that ranged from better recycling facilities to upgraded cycling infrastructure to programmes to help women who are experiencing homelessness. Read the rest of this entry »
In many respects a community share issue is an old idea in 21st century wrapping – the idea of raising funds by public subscription has been around for years. Most war memorials, for instance, that were erected after the First World War were funded in this way. But community shares are more than a simple donation. They offer someone a chance to ‘invest’ in a local project and sometimes even make a little return on that investment. The number of share issues has been slowly growing and recently they have been mapped. Interesting to see the range and geographic spread.
The Children and Young People’s Commissioner Scotland (CYPCS) are encouraging us to celebrate rights by telling 7-word stories.
To celebrate CYPCS want everyone to talk about why children’s rights matter, in a way that means people of all ages can take part. So they’re asking you to send 7 word stories about the human rights of children and young people. #7WordStory #CRC30
Further information here.
Aberdeenshire Council is keen to gauge the views of the tourism industry about the suggested levy. The results from this survey will be used to inform a Council report in November 2019, when Councillors will consider its view on a Transient Visitor Levy in Aberdeenshire. Results from this survey will also inform the Aberdeenshire Council response to the current Scottish Government Consultation on The Principles of a Local Discretionary Transient Visitor Levy or Tourist Tax.
What impact would a Tourism Tax have on customer demand and what impact would the bureaucracy of collecting it have on your Aberdeenshire business?
Please submit your survey responses (which are anonymous) by 25 October 2019 – bit.ly/TVLfeedback
The Scottish Government is also holding two information sessions at North East Scotland College in Aberdeen on 16th & 17th October, open to everyone who has an interest in discussing what a Transient Visitor
Levy might look like. Visit: http://bit.ly/32WINfN
In this post digital age it’s difficult to lose any data thanks to the powerful algorithms that sit behind today’s search engines. But paper records are harder to track down and the history of social enterprise in Scotland becomes much more anecdotal the further back in time you travel. Some skilled work by the archivists at GCU is gradually piecing together the story of who did what, when, and where in order to lay the foundations for today’s social enterprises. Community cooperatives on Scotland’s islands were the early pioneers. In some ways, nothing much has changed.
Scotland’s islands have the highest proportion of co-operatives of any part of the UK thanks to a long tradition of self-reliance, a survey has found.
The study by Co-operatives UK, the sector’s development body, said its survey of co-ops by local authority area found the Western Isles and Orkney topped the table with 8.16 and 5.91 co-ops respectively per 10,000 people. Shetland came in third, with 5.63. Eden in Cumbria came in joint fourth, with 4.55, followed by nearby Allerdale with 3.6.
The Scottish sector’s businesses are generally small, often community shops which provide the only stores in scarcely populated island communities. There are also credit unions, community energy companies and fishing co-ops.
The findings have been published as part of Co-operatives UK’s annual economic survey. It put its total turnover UK-wide at £37.7bn for 2018-19, a little over 1% higher than last year’s figure of £37.6bn and 2.75% higher than the £36.3bn in 2016-17.
The study confirmed that the John Lewis Partnership, the employee-owned group which includes Waitrose food stores, was the UK’s largest co-op with a turnover of £10.3bn; the Co-op itself narrowly behind on £10.2bn. Arla, the Denmark-based diary co-op, came third with a turnover of £2.6bn.
Excluding turnover, the data shows a slight decline in the sector’s size overall. The UK had 7,215 co-ops employing more than 233,000 people in the last financial year, compared with 7,226 employing nearly 235,000 a year earlier.
The report highlighted the Papay Community Co-operative, which runs the only shop and hostel on Papa Westray. The Orkney island has a resident population of about 85 people but is popular with island-hoppers on holiday. The business is close to Papa Westray’s airport, famous as a departure point for the world’s shortest scheduled service, a two-minute, 1.7-mile (2.8km) flight to nearby Westray.
Tim Dodman, the co-op’s secretary, said the business had an annual turnover of about £250,000 and employed four people, with some part-time help during busy periods. It also runs the school bus and local tours.
It was founded in 1980 after the only shop closed and no one could be found to run a new one single-handed. “The co-op ethos is very important,” Dodman said. “This is a small island and pretty remote. It’s much better to work cooperatively than have one individual in control of a lifeline service.”
By Sev Carrell, The Guardian