Yesterday Sophia and I were at the Wellcome Trust presenting and being interviewed as part of our bid for 2 years funding on I'm a Scientist, Get me out of Here.
The committee consisted of 6 very intelligent and experience people and they asked searching questions. It reminded me of a story from the early days of YouthBank in Norfolk. YouthBank provided grants to young people allocated by young people. It was quite a leap of faith by the council there to delegate the responsibility for this money to non-adults. The faith was repaid and then some. The feedback from observers was that young people questioned the applicants far more thoroughly than adults did and were much more discerning about what they would fund. Perhaps adults tended to patronise young people, or perhaps they had become blasé about the process.
So it was great, but not surprising, to read on Jenny Chamberlin's Diss & Roydon Blog that the latest £25,000 Participatory Budgeting exercise from Broadland District Council involves SHOUT Youth Council. The Youth Council have chosen the topics (Preventing Youth Homelessness, Places to go and things to do for young people, Challenging negative perceptions of young people) and will shortlist the bids that go forward to the public meeting that decides where the money goes.
It is a fantastic reversal of the usual power structures and an opportunity that I expect the SHOUT Youth Council will take very seriously. Let hope someone shares their experience from the project.