What is “Participatory”

Creating strong support systems that encourage people to test ideas and grow new projects.

At Vocaleyes, we talk about “Participatory” quite a lot.

Participating is where people from all walks of life come together to do something. From sharing ideas to building something, making, fixing, recycling, sharing. And, all of these activities make things better. It’s centralised and open. It’s co-creating, collaborating and connecting.

Participation – The act of taking part. 

What is a participatory city?
Our Participatory City model starts with establishing a “Voice” in all communities. Although this may sound simple, it’s still a significant challenge considering communities do not have the required infrastructure, even for this most fundamental expression of collective need.

The local democracy tools developed by Vocaleyes are used to establish “Community Voice” and a “Student Voice” which enable people to discover, suggest, rate and debate ideas to form clear priorities. This priority list then becomes the basis for all further action.

Each idea has a different set of requirements to bring it to fruition, some needing a small group of volunteers to start a new yoga class or walking group, others requiring a feasibility study for a roof top solar panel project or planning permission for a new building.

Participatory Budgeting
As well as identifying priorities and pledging into working groups, the Participatory City model enables participatory budgeting for all communities, schools and any organisation. Budgets, such as those held by local councillors for community improvement, can be made public and the expenditure aligned with the needs expressed by the community.

Coordinated Collective Action
Establishing this framework for local democracy, participatory budgeting and community organising opens up a whole range of exciting new opportunities for collective action. As well as suggesting their own ideas, people can discover and share ideas from the Vocaleyes Ideas Bank that showcases many inspiring solutions and case studies to mitigate against some of the most pressing social, environmental and financial issues we face in society today.

Working groups that have pledged to progress and carry forward these inspiring solutions are connected on regular Zoom calls for peer-to-peer learning and support through the training, feasibility, action planning, implementation and evaluation stages.

This process enables inspiring case studies, often only seen in silo, to be scaled up, adapted and replicated in waves of coordinated collective action. Impact can be measured collectively, massively increasing morale and motivation, as people not only get a sense that they are enacting positive change locally, but together globally.

Vocaleyes as an ecosystem supports participatory culture.


Find out how we work with local government and 3rd sector organisations. Read more.

Climate Change, democracy and Vocaleyes. Read more.

Pennard Community Council the first to undertake Participatory Budgeting.

Pennard Community Council has become the first community council in Wales to undertake what’s known as Participatory Budgeting with a proportion of the annual precept. This is all about local people making decisions directly over how local public budgets are spent. 

For example, in Pennard the community council use Vocaleyes to prioritise how to spend up to £5k of the community precept.  Under the scheme, funding has already been allocated for grant match-funding for a feasibility study for the suggested Community Hub.

A popular suggestion and discussion point on the Vocaleyes platform, evidencing the need locally for a community space.

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