Your Pots Participatory Grants in Lancaster District

Pots of Possibility grants help regenerate North Lancashire’s environment and build healthy, thriving communities across Lancaster district. There are smaller Community Pots, decided by a local panel, and larger Your Pots participatory budgeting grants, voted on by local people in a public event. Shared Future, a partner in the Closing Loops programme is helping facilitate Your Pots.

The Pots of Possibility fund supports ideas for developing a zero-waste, circular and regenerative economy in North Lancashire. It is part of Closing Loops, a five-year £1.5 million project funded by The National Lottery Community Fund to support initiatives to transform waste into a valuable resource and stimulate a thriving, regenerative local economy.

A regenerative economy is where local enterprises, organisations and people live and work in a way that protects and restores the environment, builds healthier communities and improves people’s wellbeing.

About Your Pots 2024

Participatory grants of £5,000–£10,000 to grow ideas and scale up pilots that contribute to a local ecosystem of regenerative initiatives and enterprises, awarded through a participatory budgeting process. Organisations pitch idea at a public event. The audience votes on who gets the money. The next round will be launched in summer 2024, with voting day in November 2024. We’re looking for ideas that fit into any of the following themes:

  • Reusing, repurposing and repairing materials currently going to waste (e.g. textiles, electronics, packaging, surplus food, etc)
  • Sharing resources (e.g. tools, materials, skills, etc) or repurposing unused space for community benefit
  • Inspiring people to use and buy things more sustainably and to produce less waste
  • Growing, cooking and eating food that’s local, seasonal and sustainably produced.

This is what happened in 2023

Voting at Your Pots 2023

In November 2023 we held the first community voting event. Below we share how the Your Pots voting event worked and people’s experiences from the day.

  • £50,000 was available in this round
  • 11 applications totalling £88,369
  • 77 people joined the voting event
  • 6 projects totalling £48,362 were recommended for funding
  • 3 citizen journalists covered the event
  • 1 community chef provided the food.

The added value was the active public engagement and project networking and collaboration that directly resulted from using participatory budgeting.

Each project presented in their own style. Some brought props including pieces of furniture for a youth-led furniture restoration project, and surplus food ready meal tasters for people to try at the event. Some, like Eggcup, represented well-established organisations, while others like Four Seasons Allotments were setting up new projects.

What people said about Your Pots

Presenters gave an average satisfaction score of 4.45/5.0, highlighting opportunities for networking and collaboration as a major benefit.

‘It was great to see the variety of projects and ideas. It has energised
me to continue my own sustainability journey.’

The audience gave an average satisfaction response score of 4.5/5.0, highlighting how they felt inspired, empowered and more hopeful.

‘It made me consider how groups need to talk to each other more, as some already had the solutions to others’ problems.’

Who received funding

The successful projects were:

  • Four Seasons Allotment: Provide community access to space to grow and share fruit and vegetables, create raised beds, and run children’s activities.
  • Wildlife Wellbeing Walks CIC & Marsh Community Centre: Empowering young and old at the Marsh Community Centre to eat sustainably and connect with nature for health and wellbeing.
  • Local Food for Local People: Research and trial supplying Eggcup and partner food clubs by purchasing local crops, gleaning, growing food, and creating pre-made meals.
  • Filbert’s Too: Provide free bread and baking to food clubs, offer cooking and baking classes, and use ingredients otherwise going to waste.
  • Community Ground Up Project: Tp reinstate a vegetable patch, bringing community members into the outdoors, helping mental health, and building community knowledge about growing food.
  • Global Village Cafe @ The Cornerstone: The Global Village Cafe @ The Cornerstone – a weekly lunch club for asylum seekers and a community cafe welcoming everyone.

Improving Your Pots in 2024

Feedback gathered at the event, through follow up focus groups, and online surveys have given us many ideas for improving the reach and impact of Your Pots. These will be discussed at our summer co-design workshop in June 2024 that will help to shape the next round of grants in autumn 2024.

Find out more about who got funded on the Closing Loops website

Read about the launch of Your Pots in 2023

Find out how to apply for the next round on the LDCVS website

Feature Image: Participants on stage at the 2023 Your Pots event.