Leith Chooses funding awards announced

Leith Chooses Awards Ceremony
Leith Chooses Awards Ceremony

13 projects were awarded grants totalling £52,624 at an awards ceremony for the £eith Chooses programme at Leith Community Centre yesterday evening (February 22).

In September 2023 applications were invited from community groups in Leith for the 2023/24 £eith Chooses Participatory Budgeting process. 23 applications progressed to the voting stage of the process and 13 of those successfully gained funding. 

Grants of up to £5,000 from this participatory budgeting programme were awarded to these local groups. The total budget consisted of £44,624 from the City of Edinburgh Council Community Grants Fund and £8,000 from Trams to Newhaven.

Public voting took place online through the Council’s Consultation Hub from the January 22-Febuary 5 and at the in-person vote day on the 27th January. Over 3000 people took the opportunity to vote and these decided which projects would be funded. A full list of organisations which received funding is available below. 

An online open forum for feedback from voters and/or applicants will be offered in early March to encourage feedback and conversation around this year’s process. For more information please contact Leithchooses@edinburgh.gov.uk

Culture and Communities Convener, Councillor Val Walker said:

It’s fantastic to see so many excellent local projects benefitting from the Leith Chooses scheme. Participatory budgeting is a key avenue for our citizens to have more control over public money and this has been carried out successfully in the north of the city for over a decade now.

I look forward to seeing how these projects make use of the funding in the course of the year ahead.

Sally Millar, a Member of the Leith Chooses Steering Group:

The £eith Chooses team was delighted to welcome over 40 Leithers to the 'Results Night' event, to hear the public announcement of which community groups and charities had been successful in winning funding through the 2023/24 £eith Chooses participatory budgeting process. Thirteen out of 23 applicants were awarded funding, based on the numbers of votes received online and at the recent in-person voting day. There were over 3,000 voters, with a total of over 11,000 votes cast.

The evening was hosted by Leith Walk Councillors Susan Rae and Jack Caldwell, with brief speeches from members of the £eith Chooses Steering Group, a long-time volunteer helper, and Mr. Andrew Field, Head of Community Empowerment and Engagement, City of Edinburgh Council who was able to give reassurances that the same level of Community Grant budget has been secured for next year. This is the 14th year of community led decisions about how funds are spent locally, and it is inspiring to see how invested the Leith community is in the process.

Chief Executive at Leith Community Centre, Rob Levick said:

It was great to finally have In-Person Voting back at the Community Centre after 4 years away. For us it's possibly the highlight of the year, Welcoming Leithers into their Centre, to meet, to blether, and to play an active part in which local projects get support. I only wish we had more money to share out.

About Participatory Budgeting and Leith Chooses:

Participatory Budgeting is an approach to engaging citizens in giving the decision- making power on the allocation of public funds. This approach has been used in Leith to allocate its Community Grants Fund (CGF) for the past 13 years. £eith Chooses (previously known as Leith Decides) is the longest running PB project in Scotland, due to its strong identity and brand, as well as a strong and active local community and voluntary sector. The community process is made possible by a commitment from a steering group of residents, community and city councillors and council workers. Meeting every Wednesday Afternoon to plan and deliberate on the issues that matter in Leith and informed by dialogue with the community throughout the year.

Leith Chooses Funded Organisations 2023/24:

•          Association of Ukrainians in Great Britain (AUGB): £5000

Connecting Cultures community event:  family-friendly event, for people of all age groups that will celebrate traditional Scottish and Ukrainian music, dance, and food.

•          Citadel Youth Centre: £4900

TGI Citadel: Friday evening Youth club for 16-19 year olds.

•          ELREC: £4600

The Conscious Weaving project: Weaving workshops that aim to bring the Leith community together to create art with a positive impact on mental health through giving opportunities for creative work, socialising, learning and self-expression.

•          Edinburgh Community Food: £4616

Fun, Fit and Fed: partnership with Leith-based Upmo, to support Eat Community Cafés at local swimming pools and provide free, nourishing, plant-based meals to families.

•          Himalayan Centre: £5000

Intergenerational Gardening, Fostering Cultural Exchange and Environmental Awareness in Leith: Targeting elders and youth, especially from ethnic minorities, this initiative promotes learning about traditional and contemporary horticultural practices in a communal garden setting.

•          Edinburgh Tool Library: £4920

The Edinburgh Repairmongery: start up of ‘The Leith Repairmongery’, our very own version of ‘The Repair Shop’, in Leith.

•          The Men of Leith Men's Shed: £1400

Opportunities to meet, eat and learn: the development of social and educational lunch meetings at the Shed. We provide a space for men to meet and work on construction and repair projects, both to promote their wellbeing and to serve the community.

•          Edinburgh Remakery: £4950

Creative Community Club: Through our Creative Community Clubs, we will collectively create a fantastic piece of community art which will highlight the wonderful people that make our well-loved area of Leith so special.

•          Dr Bells Family Centre: £4980

Family Holiday Programme: We know school holiday periods can be some of the most challenging times for families, especially for those already struggling. At Dr Bell’s we want to ensure that families with children under 5 have the resources they need to not only endure these periods, but thrive and make memories too.

•          Hibernian Community Foundation (in partnership with Hibernian Football Memories, Pilmeny Development Project and Leith Timebank): £4000

Monday Matchdays & Memories: HCF, in partnership with Hibernian Football Memories (HFM), Pilmeny Development Project (PDP) and Leith Timebank (LTB), will offer weekly activities sessions at HCF, supporting social inclusion and new opportunities for the Leith community.

•          Leith Athletic: £4000

Club Equipment:  New equipment to enhance the accessibility and inclusion of the club. In recent years the club has welcomed a girl’s section, Leith Athletic Giants and training sessions for Ukrainian families. The new equipment will allow us to cater to more groups.

•          Leith Festival: £1210

Leith’s Got Talent: Leith Festival proposes to organise a ‘Leith’s Got Talent’ event series, aimed at adults and young people, culminating in a stage performance for the finalists at next year’s Gala Day (June 2025).

•          SHE Scotland: £3048

Mind, Body and Soul at Leith Academy: The ‘Mind, Body and Soul’ programme at Leith Academy will provide a resource, sounding board and safe space for young women in S2-S4.

Published: February 23rd 2024