YOUNG people are being given a “once in a lifetime” chance to have their say on how a budget of £20,000 is spent in the Musselburgh area.

The venture, ‘Your Voice, Your Choice’, has been launched by Musselburgh Area Partnership, which decided to capitalise on the Scottish Government’s ‘Year of Young People’ in 2018.

Youngsters aged eight to 18 living in Musselburgh, Old Craighall, Wallyford and Whitecraig will decide which youth initiatives the cash will be spent on.

The area partnership, which prioritises cash allocated for Musselburgh by East Lothian Council, is funding the bulk of the project, supported by £5,000 from the council via the Scottish Government’s Community Choices fund.

Iain Clark, area partnership chairman, said: “Our focus for this project is linking in with the Year of Young People 2018 and we are putting the decision on how this money is spent firmly into the hands of the young people in our community.”

Vivien Struthers, an area partnership member and chairwoman of the project steering group, said: “This is a project that will not only unite our children and young people across the geographical and social boundaries of our area partnership, but the community as a whole.

“It has the potential to inspire everyone to have a far greater sense of ownership, involvement and pride in how we consider our community – and those who we share it with.”

She is keen to get the message across to as many children and young people as possible, adding: “This is so we can make this one of the most fun and exciting events this community has ever seen.

“This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to hear from our young people about what they want in their community.”

Lara Adams, a pupil at Musselburgh Grammar School who sits on the project’s steering committee, added: “The participatory budgeting scheme is a good opportunity for young people to use their own initiative to voice the changes they feel need made in their local school and community. It enables the youth to work together to create ideas and make some real change to their local area.”

Funds can only be transferred to an organisation with a constitution and bank account. If an individual or a group does not belong to an organisation with a constitution and bank account, they must select a sponsor organisation to receive the funds on their behalf.

Local education, partner agencies and third sector organisations can apply but must show they are responding to the needs identified by children and young people who must be involved in the creation, application and presentation of the idea.

Ideas or applications will be submitted to a panel for shortlisting and will be scored on their impact on the following criteria: improving health and wellbeing; improving safety; strengthening the community; raising achievement; reducing poverty; including everyone.

Twenty-five successful applicants will be invited to a community inspired event on February 27 in Venue 1 at The Brunton, where they will have an opportunity to present their application to an audience of children and young people.

While the entire community is invited to the event, it will be the children who will vote on the funding applications.

The project, which opened for applications on Monday, closes on February 1.

To learn more or download an application form, go to the Musselburgh Area Partnership website at and click on the ‘Your Voice, Your Choice’ link.