We were delighted to welcome so many people to the Launch and first Funding Workshop of £eith Chooses last night – nearly forty Leithers came along to hear what it’s all about, ask questions, discuss ideas, and take away a set of Guidance Notes and Application Forms, hopefully to start preparing project applications.
Leith Walk Councillor Marion Donaldson opened the event with a short but inspiring speech about how Leith has been an early player in the development of participatory budgeting, (PB) which is now a worldwide movement giving local people more control over how funds are spent in their own areas. She stressed that the benefits of PB are not merely financial. Arguably, the biggest benefit is that of increasing local community engagement and strength – the chance for people to come together, find out what’s happening in their area, think about their own values and what they want for their community.
John Tibbitt, Vice Chair of Leith Links Community Council, explained briefly the differences between past PB events in Leith (£eith Decides, and, last year, the Leith Links Community Links Fund). To qualify for our generous grant from Scottish Government, we needed to show that we were developing our model of PB.
- Partnership – the three Leith Community Councils are working together with City of Edinburgh Council as equal partners, to deliver a more community-led event and with more funds than ever before to allocate to local projects.
- Themes – All project applications need to demonstrate how they fit the themes identified as priorities for Leith (through consultation by Leith Creative, NE Locality Plan etc.)
- Access for small and unconstituted groups to small grants aimed at ‘Encouraging Neighbourliness and building community spirit’
- Simpler voting system – An easier and more direct way of voting..