Participatory budgeting (PB) is a process of democratic deliberation and decision-making in which local people decide how to spend a public budget.  Participatory budgeting allows citizens to identify, discuss, and prioritize public spending projects, and gives them the power to make real decisions about how money is spent.  PB processes are also designed to involve those left out of traditional methods of public engagement, such as low-income residents, non-citizens, and youth.
In the case of £eith Chooses, money from both Scottish Government and City of Edinburgh Council has been made available for projects within the three Leith Community Council Wards: Leith Links Community Council, Leith Central Community Council and Leith Harbour and Newhaven  (see map – coming soon!)  Good Causes / Groups delivering projects in this area are encouraged to apply for funding from this money – an overall total of £116K.
 In order to actually receive a grant, any group applying for funding has to convince people living in this area to vote for their project.   The more people vote, the more democratic the process will be and we sincerely hope that many thousands of Leithers will participate.  
So filling in your application form for funding is only the start of the Participatory Budgeting process.  You have to get people behind your proposal and vote for you!!  This can be done in more than one way;  either join us on the big day – Saturday 3rd March 2018 at the Leith Community Centre, Newkirkgate – or vote online here: (See link to voting website, when available


Is PB fair? One of the tough aspects of PB is that there are inevitably some losers as well as winners. However worthwhile all the projects, some will win more votes from the community than others, and not all projects that apply will get funding.

Sometimes people complain that the PB system seems to favour groups that are well known and that already have a large existing network of supporters, over new or small groups. But this is not always true – in past years, there has been a spread of both large and small  ‘winners’).

How can we ensure that smaller or unknown groups with less resources and less backing get a fair chance of winning funds? The truth is – as organisers, we actually can’t. The power lies purely in the hands (or rather, the votes) of the local community.

All we can do is try to widely publicise the £EITH CHOOSES event, in order to attract as many voters as possible. And we do appeal to voters to carefully consider each proposed project, and to spread their votes as fairly as possible.

We also urge all applicants to do everything they can to ‘advertise’ their own project positively before the vote, in order to make sure people HAVE heard of them, and know what the proposed project is about. As with any voting situation, it is not ‘cheating’ to put out publicity, promote your cause and canvas for votes –  using various methods of community engagement, speaking to people and via social media. (And of course, applicants should try to present their project as attractively as possible, ‘on the day’ at the voting event.)