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January 11, 2012

Porto Alegre to Port o’ Leith

Participatory budgeting – giving local people more control over budgets  – hasn’t really caught on here yet.  Certainly not on the scale of Brazilian city Porto Alegre, where $200 million is allocated annually through a process involving 50,000 citizens. But Scottish Government has been quietly testing the water (an evaluation  was published last year) and PB even gets a mention in the new regeneration strategy.  Next month the denizens of Leith meet to decide how to divvy up £17,500. Acorns and oak trees?


Leith Neighbourhood Partnership launched the £eith Decides project as a pilot scheme last year and handed out a total of £16,600 to twenty community projects in Leith.

For the next round of funding in 2011/2012 there is £17,500 up for grabs with a maximum of £1000 for successful application.

Councillor Tom Buchanan, Chair of the Neighbourhood Partnership Convenors’ Group, said: “This project has had some great successes over the past year, with numerous worthwhile causes receiving the money to help develop the Leith community.

“£eith Decides gives the public the chance to have their say on how money should be spent within their community and I would encourage any local groups with ideas about how to improve their area to submit an application for funding.”

People who live and / or work in Leith have been asked to help decide who will win a community grant by placing their vote at the Ocean Terminal shopping centre at 1pm on Saturday, February 25.

There will be the opportunity to speak to applicants and ask questions about their application and help you decide what to rate them out of five.

For information on the Porto Alegre initiative click here