The People Speak worked with Listen Up! at Islington Council to create this visionary programme – the biggest youth participatory budgeting scheme in the world as of 2010.
Funderstorm Team Training Programme
The programme started by training a team of 20 young people in running participatory discussion and voting events.
The Funderstorm Team talked directly to over 3500 young people in Islington (about 10%) through a series of young-person run public events at community centres, school assemblies, and public Talkaoke sessions, as well as vox-pop interviews and surveys.
Finally, young people facilitated an ‘agenda setting’ event at Islington Town Hall where all the issues raised so far were prioritised in discussion with young people, councillors and youth workers.
“I was impressed by the quality of discussion and ideas, not to mention the passion and enthusiasm shown by the young people at the launch event.”
Cllr Paula Belford
“Events like this give you a chance to see what other young people are interested in. Young people need to get interested in organising projects now, so they can learn how to be independent and not leave it all to the adults.”
Johanna, 14, Mt. Carmel School
The Funderstorm Voting Website
The Funderstorm Website was then launched, inviting young people to submit their proposals directly and transparrently, and vote on their favourites. Each project on the website was eligible to gain up to £5000 of funding. In the first two months the website attracted 59 proposals, and over 500 votes and comments, which was already a huge increase in participation and decision-making.
Funderstorm Live Voting Events
More ambitious (over £5000) proposals went through to one of three live voting rounds, where young people and other stake-holders were invited to attend an event where proposals could be discussed, explored, and voted on in more detail.
Unfortunately, due to funding cuts and changes in management after the 2010 UK general elections, the Funderstorm process was prematurely halted just before the first live voting event, and then shelved before any of the larger projects could be funded.
However, given the premature conclusion of the project, the overall lessons that the young people involved learned about politics and democracy were not overwhelmingly positive.
What we learned:
We are very keen to share ideas and experiences with anyone attempting something similar.