inclusion

Pissoirs and PB

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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 »

Mapping the issues

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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.

To see a Map of Community Share Issues that has been compiled by Community Shares Scotland

 

The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) is turning 30 this November!

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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.

Island co-ops stay strong

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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

 

The growth of the pop-up park

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A team of researchers in Australia are urging urban planners to embrace temporary green spaces

Had you been taking a stroll around downtown San Francisco in late September 2005 you might have noticed something unusual – an ordinary parking space turned into a tiny park featuring a tree, a patch of grass and a bench. This miniature patch of greenery was the brainchild of three urban designers and led to an unexpected global movement known as PARK(ing) Day. Held on the third Friday of September every year, PARK(ing) Day has seen thousands of otherwise grey spaces temporarily transformed, from a spot on London’s South Bank to a sidewalk in Alaska.

The PARK(ing) Day movement captured imaginations, but it’s not the only one of its kind. Pop-up parks (PUPs) are a growing phenomenon, one that a group of urban researchers from the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology is taking seriously. They argue that PUPs (which they define simply as ‘temporary green spaces’) have the capacity to benefit both biodiversity and the people who live in cities. The group cites several studies that have demonstrated the importance of nature for human wellbeing, including a paper in the Annual of Public Health which concluded that: ‘Taken together, the research reviewed does indicate that contact with nature can promote health. The evidence for some benefits, such as short-term restorative effects, is already quite strong.’

A’Beckett Urban Square PUP on the City Campus of RMIT University in Melbourne, AustraliaA’Beckett Urban Square PUP on the City Campus of RMIT University in Melbourne [Image: J Gollings]

‘There’s a lot of underutilised space in cities, and it’s going to be increasingly key to bring nature back into cities and have it close to offices,’ says Luis Mata, lead author of the study. ‘Some PUPs might only last for a couple of hours, whereas others last for years and may even become a path to something permanent. Depending on their deign and their spatial and temporal scales some will provide more benefits for people, some for biodiversity and some for both.’

The study points to a number of PUPs already in motion. In particular, San Francisco’s ‘Pavement to Parks’ program – an initiative that seeks to transform underutilised street spaces into public plazas known as ‘parklets’. It also refers to the UK’s Design Council and its ‘Knee High Design Challenge’ funding scheme which saw a PUP project trialled in Lambeth and Southwark. The transformed spaces were designed to encourage play and were filled with games for young children.

the “Grasslands” PUP at the State Library of Victoria in Melbourne“Grasslands” PUP at the State Library of Victoria in Melbourne [Image: M Stanton]

To address the lack of research into such spaces, the researchers want to see future sites become ‘socioecological laboratories’ in which urban planners conduct experiments to inform future design. Leading the way, Mata and his colleagues carried out their own analysis on a PUP in their home-town of Melbourne. They found that the six-week project called ‘Grasslands’, installed at the State Library of Victoria, saw insect pollinator abundance increase by around 160 per cent while the PUP was present.

The human impact of these spaces is harder to evaluate precisely. Nevertheless, the researchers contend that in dense urban environments with plenty of small, underutilised spaces, PUPs can help people spend time in nature, as well as foster community and in particular, creativity. ‘Creative thinking is sometimes lacking in academia,’ says Mata. ‘This new movement of people with artistic minds thinking of putting nature into cities is really excellent and is something that PUPs are uniquely placed to take advantage of.’

Read the rest of this entry »

Period Poverty

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Legislation has been officially lodged at the Scottish Parliament to ensure free access to sanitary products for all women. Labour MSP Monica Lennon said her member’s bill aimed to make Scotland a “world leader” in tackling period poverty. It would make it a statutory requirement for schools, colleges and universities to provide such items. The Scottish government has pledged £4m to boost provision in public buildings.

Here in K & M, we were fortunate to have Christine McLean along to a Welfare & Wellbeing Network meeting from CFine to discuss her work on period poverty. In a nutshell, ‘Period poverty’ refers to having a lack of access to sanitary products due to financial constraints. Something that many of us are lucky enough to probably take for granted.

The Scottish Government asked CFINE to operate and coordinate a pilot scheme for six months in 2017-18 through which sanitary products were made available free to all those on low incomes who need them, including any gender categories in need.

Access to Sanitary Products pilot operated in Aberdeen’s regeneration areas through partner organisations.  A wide range of community and voluntary organisations supported the pilot, along with the local authority and educational institutions including; schools, colleges and universities.

Access to Sanitary products cfine

It has ended in a huge success with over 1,000 people signing up to receive sanitary products.  As a result of the success, The Scottish Government has allocated funding to roll-out the distribution of free sanitary products to those in need widely across Scotland, including Aberdeen via the FareShare network.

So, how does this impact in K & M?
What Christine hopes to do is to extend this service into Aberdeenshire. To enable this to happen, a hub for delivery of bulk pallets of the sanitary products needs to be identified which could serve a wider area. For example, in K & M there would be one main hub which would then distribute more widely over the area. Further distribution could be by groups picking up products for a specific settlement and then delivering to all outlets, or encouraging others to collect them. A record is kept of numbers of products distributed to provide tangible evidence of the need for this service and service continuance.

Think you can help out? Get in touch and we will pass on your ideas.

Bettridge Survey

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As most of you will know, the Bettridge Centre is an important local community-owned and managed facility which offers a wide selection of activities for the whole ​community and for visitors.   Some public consultation has already taken place and the centre has commissioned Community Enterprise to build on that positive momentum with more detailed local research.  The core aim is to find out what is needed in the community and use that to set out a plan to upgrade the building to meet the needs of Newtonhill and the surrounding area.

Want to make your voice heard, take part in the survey, link below;

https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/Bettridge