THE polls are officially open for voting on Your Stirling: You Decide.

Residents now have four weeks to make their voice heard on what projects should go ahead in their area, with £100,000 of council investment up for grabs in each electoral ward.

Your Stirling: You Decide is Stirling Council’s take on Participatory Budgeting, a Scottish Government-backed initiative aimed at improving community engagement in local authority spending.

This year £700,000 has been ring-fenced by the Council from its budget for the project.

More than 770 individual ideas were submitted from all corners of Stirling, and a final list of 193 have been verified to go through to the voting stage.

Stirling Council Leader, Cllr Scott Farmer, said: “This has been a new process for all of us and I’m so happy to see the response from the community.

“The huge number of ideas shows that the people of Stirling care about their community, and they’ve put their time and effort into trying to make a difference.

“Now it’s time for the rest of us to make sure that time and effort doesn’t go to waste.”

Already successfully launched in major cities such as New York and Madrid, as well as other local authorities in Scotland, Participatory Budgeting has increased community engagement and brought real change to communities across the world.

All proposals up for selection across the seven wards in Stirling are available to view now on the Stirling Council website where information on the voting process is also available.

Anyone without internet access can also vote by attending any Stirling Library where staff will be ready and willing to help.

Cllr Margaret Brisley, convenor for the Council’s Finance and Economy Committee, added: “This project isn’t just about getting upgrades to parks and paths, it’s about changing the way we work with our community as a Council.

“Participatory budgeting is going to become a regular part of our overall budget-setting process in the near future, so it’s vital to get involved now, understand how it works, and see the benefits of having your say.

“Our officers have worked hard to ensure ease of access and a simple method for anyone who wants to vote so I’d encourage everyone to make their voice heard for your own community.”

Voting is available: