Posted by: Richard Frost | 14 Nov 2011

Chorlton U Decide

U Decide logo - the Manchester City Council grant allocation scheme

We’re always complaining that Manchester City Council wastes our money, aren’t we? If only there was some way we could actually choose how our taxes are spent.

Well that’s the idea behind U Decide, which returns to Chorlton this week. And while I love a bit of council bashing as much as the next person, even I have to admit it’s a great scheme. So good, in fact, that Chorlton U Decide is about to celebrate its 4th year in a row, and the concept is now catching on in neighbouring Manchester suburbs – Whalley Range, Northenden and Fallowfield.

How Chorlton U Decide works

  • We can all vote at U Decide, as long as we’re high school age or over and living in Chorlton ward (NB not Chorlton Park, as I discovered last year)
  • We listen to short 2-minute grant pitches by around 15 local community projects
  • We pick which projects could make the biggest difference to Chorlton, ranking each one in order of preference
  • We get told at the end which projects have received the most votes, and will therefore receive grants from Manchester City Council

U Decide a bit less

It’s a ridiculously simple idea, but then all the best ones are. One thing that’s pretty disappointing though is that Chorlton U Decide 2011 looks to have been hit quite badly by the cuts.

This year, community projects can bid for up to £750 and Manchester City Council has set aside a total kitty of just £7,500, whereas last year I believe the equivalent figures were £1,000 and £12,500. Having said that, £7,500 is still better than nothing and I know from experience that a few hundred pounds goes a hell of a long way on a well-run community project.

Chorlton U Decide 2011

Speaking of which, I can heartily recommend the following projects, which are all pitching for grants at Chorlton U Decide 2011:

  • Transition Chorlton – “We aim to tackle the issues of climate change and peak oil through direct community participation”
  • Cracking Good Food – “Cracking Good Food is a cooking network based in Chorlton, South Manchester”
  • Green Chorlton – “Green Chorlton is a not-for-profit community group that aims to promote environmental issues and sustainable living in a fun and friendly way”

Disclaimer: Ok, ok, I may have written that last one myself. Shameless self-promotion? I prefer to think of it as recycling 🙂

Chorlton U Decide takes place at Chorlton Leisure Centre, Manchester Road, Chorlton from 6pm on Thursday, 17 November 2011.

Update: Well done to all the community projects that received funding at Chorlton U Decide 2011, which happily included Green Chorlton. For the full list, check out Victor Chamberlain’s blog. (23 November 2011)



  1. Hi, I’m studying youth and community at university and wouldlike to find out about volunteering with any ofthese events. Please could you let vme know if this may be possible.

    Kind regards
    Caroline Hamlin


    • Hi Caroline, I’m not directly involved with any of these festivals at the moment. However, I’m sure that pretty much all of them would welcome another volunteer!

      Your best bet is visiting their websites and sending a message to the organisers.


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