Month: January 2019
Peterhead is asking the question of its communities, do you have an idea that would help improve the local environment in Peterhead?
If the answer is yes, then Peterhead Decides Community Choices is an opportunity to
make the idea happen. £20,000 is available to allow residents to decide what landscape or road
maintenance improvements they would like to see in the Peterhead area.
Community Choices is about local people coming together to decide how public money
should be spent in their communities, but basically it looks like this:
1. Ideas are generated about how money should be spent
2. Local people decide on their priorities
3. The ideas with the most support are implemented
Any local community, voluntary, or non–profit organisation, even informal groups or any local resident
who has an idea and is interested in improving the local environment in Peterhead can submit an idea. Projects will then be assessed for feasibility and cost and then the local community will be asked to decide which projects they think will make the biggest improvements and should be implemented in 2019.
So what makes for a good idea?
Ideas can be large or small, whether you want to improve the physical appearance to promote a positive image of the town through increasing the amount of summer bedding plants distributed for planting, improve local paths to make the area more accessible or improve the landscape to help cleanliness.
However, ideas for projects must improve the physical environment of Peterhead, cost under £20,000,
benefit as many people as possible and be delivered by the end of 2019.
Projects like Peterhead Decides are a great opportunity for communities to become involved in their local democracy, and influence decisions that matter to them.
Democracy is always in the making: a never-ending project that requires constant rethinking and development.
Reclaiming and recasting politics and democracy is a core challenge for participatory democrats. The key argument is that citizen participation can reinvigorate democratic life by infusing diversity, experience and knowledge into official decision making. The question is what kind of participation?
In representative democracy, citizens are usually given a thin role in public life, and participation often means casting a ballot every few years, and being occasionally invited to consultations. It seems unsurprising that most citizens don’t grab such opportunities with both hands. Lack of public interest can then be used as an excuse for not supporting citizens to become more involved in governing themselves.
But there are alternative understandings of democracy where participation means direct influence for citizens on the decisions that affect their lives and livelihoods. Why citizen participation? Because our current political systems too often struggle to cope with the pressing issues of our time. We need more problem-solving capacity, better policy and decision making, and new ways of governing. In other words, representative democracy needs a substantial upgrade.
Although there seems to be broad support for democratic principles amongst citizens, there can be mistrust in how current institutions work. Representative democracy can suffer from low turnouts, political disaffection, public cynicism and loss of legitimacy. The answer to the problems of democracy must surely be more democracy, a more meaningful and engaged kind – a participatory democracy, perhaps.
Well-known forms of participation, including volunteering, voting, organising, campaigning and so on, coexist now alongside those that eschew traditional models of organisational affiliation. For instance, many engage passionately on single issues that matter to them, others are political in how they spend their money and time, yet others work to develop new forms of economic life through cooperatives or social enterprises. All forms of participation can contribute to develop a vibrant democracy.
One form of participation being used in Aberdeenshire is participatory budgeting(PB). Following on from PB exercises throughout Aberdeenshire in 2017 and 2018, Peterhead Decides is currently asking the people of Peterhead if they have an idea that would help improve the local environment in Peterhead?
Join us at K and M Communities next week to read more about what Peterhead have been up to!
The word ‘idiot’ derives from the ancient Greek for a private citizen who professes no interest in being involved in politics. In the birthplace of democracy, it was simply an article of faith that every citizen would become actively engaged in the political decisions of their towns, cities and nation state. Democracy, as the ancient Greeks conceived it, was a civic duty and any citizen could be called upon to serve. No hustings, no elections, and no political parties. Just the random selection of individual citizens who would willingly step forward when their names were drawn by lot. Known as sortition, this form of democracy would be anathema to our modern-day career politicians. Yet it is a particular form of sortition – the citizens’ assembly – to which many countries around the world are now turning to help resolve some of their most intractable problems. And as we settle down to watch the next instalment of modern-day British democracy of Brexit, many now argue that a randomly selected assembly of citizens, expertly guided and supported, might just offer a sensible way forward. We’d surely be idiots not to try.
Look back next week, to find out a bit more about the participative democracy happening in Aberdeenshire now.
Hands up if you made a New Year resolution to get fitter, or meet new people in 2019?
Most of us reflect at this time of year and these are certainly achievable and popular resolutions. Walking with friends is an easy and accessible opportunity. Good news is that there is a growing network of walking groups for all abilities across Kincardine and Mearns.
The following are useful organisations and contacts;
1 Paths for All
Paths for All’s vision is for a happier, healthier Scotland where physical activity improves quality of life and wellbeing for all. Read the rest of this entry »
New Website to provide support to anyone affected by alcohol and drugs in Aberdeenshire www.aberdeenshirealcoholdrugs.support
Aberdeenshire Alcohol and Drug Partnership (ADP) have a new website to help support anyone affected by alcohol and drugs in Aberdeenshire. The online resource www.aberdeenshirealcoholdrugs.support aims to provide information and signposting to a range of support services and organisations across Aberdeenshire and nationally.
The website was developed in response to feedback that there was a lack of information in an easily accessible format on what drug and alcohol support was available and how to access help when it was needed. The ADP have worked with service users, family members and people in recovery to make sure that the information on the website is useful, easy to understand and access.
The resource aims to help people using any drug including alcohol, whether worried about their own drug or alcohol use, a friend’s use or family member’s use. www.aberdeenshirealcoholdrugs.support provides a one-stop shop for information on support, treatment and recovery. Within each section, people can find out more about a particular area of support and advice and then clearly see which organisations provide this support and their contact details.
The Aberdeenshire Alcohol Drugs Support website will always have the most up to date information on the Substance Use Service Gateway in Aberdeenshire. . The Gateway is part of the NHS and Council Substance Use Service team and provides confidential, non-judgmental assistance towards the right treatment, support or information. The GET HELP button either the Alcohol or Drugs section of the website displays phone and email details as well as arrangements for drop in facilities around Aberdeenshire.
Professionals and agencies can help any of their clients to engage with the Alcohol or Drug Use Service by calling 01224 558844 or email to firstname.lastname@example.org (North Aberdeenshire) email@example.com (South and Central Aberdeenshire)
Sci-Gateway and Track Care can also still be used for referrals from NHS.
Print materials, posters and cards, promoting the website and access to the Aberdeenshire Alcohol and Drug Service will be delivered to agencies soon. The ADP would be grateful if these could be displayed widely and offered to people who might need help with their alcohol or drug use in Aberdeenshire. To get a supply or resupply contact firstname.lastname@example.org
The ADP have identified a wide range of information that they think is useful to people and communities however they welcome approaches from services, groups, community members with information to add or changes to make. Please use the website to share your own news. Send news items and suggested changes to the adp email above.