Unheard Voices Winners Recognised by Lord Mayor, Cllr John Sheehan

The winners of the Unheard Voices project, which empowered the public to choose how public funds are allocated are being invited to Cork City Hall today by the Lord Mayor, Councillor John Sheehan. The ‘Cork Voices Campaign’ was a participatory grant making scheme for Cork City Public Participation Network (PPN) members where shortlisted applicants were videoed outlining why their particular project should be funded. The public had the opportunity to view these videos and vote on how the grant funds should be allocated. A Public Participation Network (PPN) is a network that allows local authorities to connect with community groups.
At its core, participatory grant-making is about bringing positive projects that improve the community to the people and then giving the people a chance to influence what gets funded. Whoever gets the most votes – gets the most funding. It is a simple form of direct democracy which allows the public to have a direct say in how public funds are allocated.

With grant amounts ranging from €150 to €750, the Cork Voices Campaign tested participatory grant-making in an Irish context. While participatory budgeting and grant-making have been growing across Europe, they have not been tried in Ireland yet, so this was a first for the city and country.

Over the campaign 2,555 public votes allocated a total of €5,000 to these 9 community groups and the Cork Voices social media pages had over 50,000 impressions. The campaign reached far and wide and was picked up and shared by social influencers such as Senator David Norris and sports star Derval O’Rourke.

The winners included:

Comhairle na nÓg;
Cork Gay Project – GOLD – Gay Older Gents Group
Cork Nature Network
Cork Cycling Campaign
Mahon Family Resource Centre
International Community Dynamics – Empowering independent living after direct provision
Boomerang Enterprises
Meitheal Mara
CouchSurfing – Be Welcome
‘Cork Voices’ was the Cork solution to the Enterprise Ireland ‘Unheard Voices’ Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Challenge 2018/2019.

We are grateful to having been part of this project and worked with a number of funding and project partners to bring it to fruition. The Cork Voices grant was co-funded by the Atlantic Social Lab project and Cork City PPN in partnership with Cork City Council and Enterprise Ireland. StoryTracks and One Step Closer were contracted as part of the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Challenges, which is co-funded by Enterprise Ireland