29 November 2023

Two Towns - Big Ideas: Applications invited for Banff and Macduff participatory budgeting fund

>Applications are now being invited for a new £30,000 participatory budgeting fund for Banff and Macduff.

The ‘Two Towns – Big Ideas’ grant fund was identified in both the Banff and Macduff Development Partnership Action Plans as a priority project to help the towns to develop following the pandemic and cost of living crisis.

Following both face-to-face and online public engagement work in Banff and Macduff this summer, and following discussion with local business owners and reviewing the Banff and Macduff town centre health checks, Aberdeenshire Council teams agreed to explore participatory budgeting as a method of tackling this issue.

Participatory budgeting allows residents and the community to express their views and ideas on the town centre through local democracy, and be at the very heart of deciding how public money is spent locally.

Through the process of participatory budgeting, the aim is to address declining footfall and reignite activity in the town centres of Banff and Macduff and help inspire the two towns and communities to become directly involved in original and unique projects, including inspirational temporary use of vacant properties and to encourage community events in the area providing opportunities to bring people together.

The council’s application process is open to community groups, school groups, businesses, charitable organisations and social enterprises. 

Un-constituted groups or those without a bank account can also apply if their application is supported by an appropriately constituted group.

A dedicated email address has also been created for enquiries at  

Application forms and guidance are available on the council’s website at

The grant awards available range from £500 to £5,000 and to help applicants a series of information sessions will be held across both towns where interested parties can talk through project ideas, discuss the fund guidance and application process.

One to one assistance can also be requested for those unable to attend the information sessions. Sessions will take place on:

  • Thursday, December 7: 10am-12noon - Macduff Marine Aquarium
  • Thursday, December 7: 1-4pm - The Vinery, Banff
  • Monday, January 8: 5.30pm-7.30pm – Macduff Men’s Shed
  • Wednesday, January 10: 5.30-7.30pm - Banff Castle

Cllr Alan Turner, chair of Aberdeenshire Council’s Infrastructure Services Committee, said: “I am delighted to see the launch of this important participatory budgeting fund for the coastal towns of Banff and Macduff. This process really does give residents greater control over where monies are spent locally in their communities. There’s no doubt that attributing funds in this tried and tested manner better reflects the strengths, needs and aspirations of our communities and can be far more effective.”

Cllr Doreen Mair, chair of the council’s Banff and Buchan Area Committee, added: “By providing local residents, groups and businesses with that increased opportunity to suggest new and exciting projects, I hope it will lead to greater enthusiasm and collaboration within our communities. This is a tremendous opportunity to really make a difference in Banff and Macduff and I would encourage our communities to grab it with both hands and get their applications in now.”