Merkinch & South Kessock (Inverness): Your Place, Your Point

Closed 1 Apr 2024

Opened 1 Apr 2024


Highland Community Planning Partnership, Highland Third Sector Interface, Youth Highland, Scottish Community Development Centre and Police Scotland are working together on an approach called 'Participatory Budgeting'. This will involve local people having a say over how we spend £30,000 in the local area. 

The project, called Your Place, Your Point, has been funded by Highland's share of the Scottish Government's Whole Family Wellbeing Fund. The Scottish Government have also contributed funding towards the meaningful participation of young people, supported by Youth Highland, throughout the process. This project aims to improve local democracy, ensuring that communities are more engaged with decision-making to improve safety and wellbeing.

The project will be running over Spring and Summer 2024 and we are recruiting a Steering Group made up of local people from the community to help. It's important that this group broadly represents the people who live in Merkinch and South Kessock. The Steering Group will also include professionals and volunteers from organisations and services working in the community.

Applications to join the Steering Group are open! 

Police Scotland is committed to ensuring that the public, communities and partners are engaged, involved and have confidence in policing (Joint Strategy for Policing 2023-26, Outcome 3) and to our statutory purpose of improving the safety and wellbeing of people, places and communities in Scotland. Policing is visible in every community and plays a vital part in helping communities thrive.


The Divisional Commander for Highland and Islands and the senior leadership team in Inverness want to drive innovation by working with communities – bringing learning and expertise from participatory democracy, community empowerment and public engagement approaches. Recognising that to improve safety and wellbeing, we need to enable genuine collaboration with and within our communities.

Through previous research and insight Police Scotland has identified that there are key drivers of public confidence in policing:

  • Police visibility, presence and accessibility;
  • Values and behaviours; and
  • Community engagement.

We also need a shared vision and collective response to some of the most pressing challenges such as poor mental health, drug and alcohol use and ensuring everyone has access to the right services at the right time.

Your Place, Your Point will be split into several distinct steps, with the Steering Group working with us throughout. In simple terms, the steps of this project are:

  1. Develop the guidelines for the funding and how much people/projects can bid for. 
  2. Advertise the opportunity in the local area so that everyone is aware and can get involved to bid for funds.
  3. Review proposals that have come in to make sure they match the guidelines we have set out.
  4. A public vote will take place for which projects/ideas people wish to receive funding.
  5. A celebratory event in the community to announce the successful projects. This will bring everyone together through food and music.

Policy context

This work is underpinned by a number of drivers for change, to ensure Police Scotland and our partners meet public sector duties for community empowerment, delivering best value by using public insight in its decision-making and enables innovation and collaboration with communities. It is important to advocate for a co-production approach where possible, to achieve the vision set out by Campbell Christie in the ‘Christie Commission on the Future Delivery of Public Services’ over a decade ago.

Your Place, Your Point sets out an opportunity to move into a new space with policing contributing as an ‘enabler’ in local communities, bringing people together for change alongside our partners.

This project seeks to activate local communities, increase opportunities for active citizenship and work with people to solve problems and respond to local needs and concerns. Your Place, Your Point aligns with central and local government priorities in a number of areas – such as the local democracy review, green participatory budgeting and further deliberative democracy experiments and wider government commitments around community empowerment and active citizenship.

Process outline

The diagram below outlines the journey of this project from start to finish. 

Impact and learning

It is vital that throughout this next period, we maintain and improve public confidence in policing. By involving the public in a collaborative and participative way throughout this process we will learn more about what is needed and expected. We want to find out what works.

We have developed the following key lines of enquiry (KLE) to support and guide our learning as we go:

  1. What is needed for effective Participatory Budgeting in the context of policing, community safety and wellbeing, and where is there maximum value for public sector funding with a legacy for the longer term?
  2. How can large public sector bodies act within a space of ‘activation’ rather than ‘leading’ (a place-focused way, utilising local knowledge, expertise and other assets) – and what does this mean for the future of policing?
  3. How does Participatory Budgeting affect public confidence and trust in policing?

We are working with Scottish Community Development Centre to evaluate this process in Merkinch and South Kessock, and we will share reflections and learning here as we go.

More information

Project funded by: Highland Community Planning Partnership and Scottish Government

Community delivery partners: Highland Third Sector Interface and Youth Highland

Evaluation: Scottish Community Development Centre


  • Inverness Central


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