Image: Members of Strathcarron's Lymph Notes' Choir who benefitted from a small grant
Local community groups are being reminded that Community Choices, Falkirk Council’s participatory budgeting initiative closes in just over two weeks on 1 December 2023.
.Two types of grants can be applied for:
• Small grants (up to £5,000): great for small-scale projects that will make a real difference to the lives of people living in each ward.
• Place-based capital grants (over £5,000): perfect for big projects that need a capital investment to build something new, improve an asset or purchase equipment.
Once applications have been assessed, they will then go forward to a public vote in each ward starting in late January and running through till the end of February. Successful applicants will be announced at the end of March 2024.
Councillor Cecil Meiklejohn, Leader of Falkirk Council said: “The Community Choices scheme puts spending decisions back into local communities with them having the final say on what projects should be funded.
“We have seen more than 120 grants awarded to date with a value of £2.8m being spent on worthwhile projects across all areas. We really hope to see many more coming forward in this final couple of weeks.”
Applications can be made online at www.falkirk.gov.uk/communitychoices
Strathcarron Hospice, based in Denny, secured a Small Grants award of £4,800, enabling it to continue the 'Lymph Notes' Choir programme for 4 months in 2022.
Launched as a pilot musical therapy initiative, the choir primarily serves individuals living with lymphoedema, a chronic condition characterised by the accumulation of lymph fluid.
During the initial 6-month pilot phase, the choir offered 17 members the opportunity to connect with others facing similar challenges while providing a creative outlet. Remarkably, participants reported an average 35% improvement in their mental health and mood.
The choir also evolved to help raise crucial funds for Strathcarron Hospice, renowned for its provision of specialised palliative care and expert end-of-life services to individuals in Forth Valley, Cumbernauld, and Kilsyth.
Margaret-Anne Garner, Lymphoedema Specialist at Strathcarron Hospice, said: "Community Choices funding has helped so many initiatives like ours make a real difference in people's lives, providing them with much-needed support that may not have been possible had the grant not been secured.
“The choir has created a safe space for people with lymphoedema and lipoedema to meet, build relationships, and share experiences. It's also helped them learn new skills and reduced feelings of isolation and anxiety."