Independent and not-for-profit with 30 years' expertise in planning, community planning and engagement


Participatory Budgeting Works Project

The Participatory Budgeting Works Project is delighted to announce that we will be working with and providing support to:

  • Rathlin Development and Community Association
  • Newry, Mourne and Down District Council and Community Planning Partners
  • Parent Action CIC, Downpatrick.

The support will be tailored to each project to facilitate the planning and implementation of their PB grant making processes. This will result in practical examples of PB on the ground with opportunities for local people to get involved in shaping and having a say on how resources are allocated in their areas. Each of the projects are excited to be involved and looking forward to the challenge.

On Rathlin, islanders can join in by pitching or voting for an idea that will allocate resources from the Rathlin Manor House, the community’s social enterprise guest house and restaurant. PB is an ideal method to return the benefit directly to the community. This way islanders will decide together how it is used and get stuck in to delivering whatever projects are voted through.

“Communities leading change” will be the focus in Newry Mourne and Down. Two PB events are planned. The first event will be based in the Mournes District Electoral Area and will seek ideas in relation to Rural Isolation, Health and Wellbeing, and Improving the area. The second event will be district wide with a focus on improving the lives of younger people.

Parent Action will focus on “Getting our voices heard” where parents of children, young people and adults with disabilities and long-term health conditions will collaborate with public service staff to explore how public budgets are spent.

Our support partners are PB Partners and The Democratic Society. Each project will deliver the PB processes by the end of November 2018. Participants will capture and share learning from their PB projects to inform and encourage further PB practice across the region. More information on each of the PB projects will be available on the PB Works website as they progress.

PB Works will also be providing support to a number of other organisations to help with their initial developmental plans for a PB process. This includes: Fermanagh and Omagh District Council; Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council; Newington Housing Association and Forward South Partnership. More information will be available soon.

The Participatory Budgeting Works Project is a collaborative effort to raise awareness of and advocate for Participatory Budgeting (PB) across the region. Participatory Budgeting can be described as “Local People deciding how to allocate part of a public budget.” It is a way for citizens to have a direct say in how public funds are used to address local needs. PB is much more than just deciding how resources are allocated.  It provides opportunities to engage in non-traditional ways that reach out to people who don’t often have a voice and it can become a celebration of positive action in the community.

The PB Works Project is co-ordinated by Community Places and includes a range of organisations from the public, community and voluntary sector working together to create an enabling and supportive environment for Participatory Budgeting.

PB Works is funded by the Big Lottery Fund through The Building Change Trust.

If you would like to find out more about the PB Works Project visit our website or contact Louise O’Kane

13 August 2018

Privacy Notice Update

We have updated our Privacy Notice in preparation for the introduction of the General Data Protection Regulations which come into operation on 25 May 2018.  The Notice lists the information we may collect from people we work with; explains how we use the information; how long we keep the information for and how we keep it secure. 

You can read and download the notice here.   


18 May 2018

Planning Advice Outreach

We are continuing our series of drop in planning advice sessions throughout the region.  The next one will be held on Wednesday, 2 May 2018 (between 7.00 pm and 9.00 pm) in The Parador Hotel, Ormeau Road, Belfast.  

Our planning advice service is part-funded by the Department for Infrastructure and enables us to provide free, confidential, impartial planning advice to people and communities who cannot afford to pay a consultant.  

You can drop into the outreach event any time between 7.00 pm and 9.00 pm - there is no need to make an appointment - to get advice on a one-to-one basis from our planning staff.  We can give advice on:

  • commenting on or objecting to a planning application;
  • development proposals in the local area;
  • how Belfast City Council deals with and decides on planning applications; and
  • any other planning issue.

We are also able to provide advice by telephone (9023 9444) or by email ( 

17 April 2018

Participatory Budgeting

Interested in finding out about Participatory Budgeting – having a say in how public money is spent locally? Come along to the launch of the PB Works Project on Wednesday, 14 March 2018 from 1.30 pm to 4.30 pm at the Crescent Arts Centre, Belfast as part of Democracy Day or to one of the other regional events. You can register here

The event will provide a taster session exploring what Participatory Budgeting is and how you can get involved in deciding how public resources are allocated. There will be an opportunity to try out a mock PB process; hear about good practice both locally and from Scotland; and find out how to sign up to join the PB Works Network.

More information on the Participatory Budgeting Works project is available on our website which is coming soon

1 March 2018

Rethinking Engagement - A Dialogue Approach

Rural Community Network and Community Places in partnership with three local communities delivered a project exploring the issues around the siting of renewable energy technology in rural communities in 2016.  We used an innovative engagement tool called the Public Conversations Project Dialogue methodology to ask citizens and other stakeholders to explore in depth their positions on this often contentious issue.

We are now in the process of sharing the learning from the project and showcasing the engagement technique which has been used to facilitate difficult conversations across a wide range of issues worldwide.  Workshops will set out the learning from the project but will also give participants an opportunity to practice the technique.

Workshops are being held in:

  • Holywell DiverseCity Community Partnership Building, 10 - 12 Bishop Street,  Derry on Wednesday, 7 February 2018 (11.00 am - 1.30 pm); and 
  • Fermanagh Trust, Fermanagh House, Broadmeadow Place Enniskillen on Thursday, 8 February 2018 (11.00 am - 1.30 pm).

To book your place please contact Teresa McKernan on 028 8676 6670 or email


This project is funded by Building Change Trust as part of its Civic Activism Programme.

23 January 2018