The Steering Group (the Community Councils and City of Edinburgh Council, jointly) took a really hard decision today, to carry on with the voting event tomorrow, 3rd March.
Health and safety are top priorities, and we do understand that this will mean that some people – whether applicants or voters – just won’t be able to make it because of adverse weather conditions. This is a matter of the deepest regret. We know that the event will be smaller and more muted than we all would have hoped. We are aware that some people feel disadvantaged, which is a terrible thing for us to have to accept responsibility for, in a process that is meant above all to be inclusive and participatory.
To try to counterbalance, we are extending the online voting by an extra week (to 17th March) and will put as much support as possible into helping people to vote in libraries and in the Community Centre during those two weeks. Please get in touch if you require support to vote and we will do what we can to help you.
For a number of reasons, there just is not the capacity to extend the £eith Chooses process indefinitely. We also know the community has expressed a wish to maintain in-person voting if possible and not just take the easy route and go over to online voting only. We don’t think Leith wants to go back to decisions being made by a funding panel behind closed doors. We can’t believe that people want to see the event cancelled completely and the money returned to Scottish Government and City of Edinburgh Council.
So it’s up to the great community of Leith to make the best we can out of this.
Certainly, it provides a salutary case example for anybody in Government or Council who might think that participatory budgeting is an option that can be implemented easily or without significant resources.