THE public can vote for projects aimed at tackling poverty and inequalities in the Musselburgh area now a poll has gone live.

Members of Musselburgh Area Partnership, which is organising the initiative, are hoping the whole community will get involved to decide how to spend a £65,000 cash windfall to address the issues.

Voting takes place online or at a series of drop-in roadshows, some with breakfast on offer, where volunteers will be on hand to help. There are also displays at outlets such as community centres, Musselburgh Grammar School and the Hollies Day Centre.

The area partnership received £50,000 as part of the Scottish Government’s Community Choices Funding for 2018/19 to give people a direct voice in how funds should be invested on priorities in their local areas as part of Participatory Budgeting (PB).

This was supplemented by funding from the area partnership, which allocates a budget from East Lothian Council to a variety of local priorities and initiatives.

A total of 21 projects have been shortlisted after meeting the initiative’s criteria – 37 applications were received and an independent panel considered them to ensure they met the guidelines and aims.

Iain Clark, area partnership chairman, said: “They had to be a brand new project or completely separate addition which would have a different value. We were delighted with the response. There are a lot of good and diverse projects.”

The Democratic Society of Scotland is hosting and funding the online vote which runs for three weeks to March 14.

All those aged eight and upwards with an EH21 postcode are eligible to vote. Each person is allowed six votes for their chosen projects.

Mr Clark said: “The highest scoring project will get its money and we will just go down the list until the money is used up.

“There were only two projects which applied for the full £10,000. They get what they’ve applied for.

“We could fund six projects, we could fund 10 projects, it depends on the score and what they’ve asked for.

“We will have an afternoon announcement event at The Brunton on Saturday, March 16, from 1pm to 3.30pm. The announcement will be made on a big screen, one by one.”

He said the area partnership would also look at the unsuccessful projects to see if they linked into the Musselburgh Area Plan.

Janice MacLeod, vice-chairperson of the area partnership, added: “We really want to make sure we want to reach people that poverty and inequalities are affecting.”

The roadshows include: February 21, Gate House, Stepping Out, noon to 3pm; February23, Tesco, 10am to 2pm; First Step Project, 9am to noon; Brunton Hall, 11am to 2pm; February 25, Whitecraig Community Centre, 6pm to 8pm, and again on February 27, 9am to 1pm; March 6, 10am to noon, Fisherrow Community Centre; and March 13, Wallyford Community Centre, 9am to 9.45am and 5.30pm to 6.15pm.

The vote is live at

The projects are:

Musselburgh Kindness Fund – to provide social workers, family workers, health workers and community staff with access to small amounts of funds to support families in crisis with items like power cards, telephone credits, essential items such as nappies and vouchers for public transport.

Mobile Fruit in Musselburgh area – to put a mobile van on the road one day per week to go around Wallyford, Whitecraig and Musselburgh East, including Pinkie, selling fresh produce to customers.

Silver Surfers – the Hollies Day Centre is looking to help older people stay safe online and make the most of the internet.

The Big Impact Project – Black Diamond Thai Boxing Club makes learning for adults and young people, re-engaging them through programmes and activities involving combat sport and alternative approaches to education and development through partnership working.

Summer Holiday Playscheme Provision for Wallyford & Whitecraig – a free programme of extracurricular summer activities including lunch for primary school aged children. To engage families through stimulating activities, directly addressing the importance of play and attachment. Run in local community centres.

Play on Pedals & Big Read Project – highlighting that reading to young children sets them up to succeed and riding a bike improves physical fitness, a child’s learning development and mental health.

Connect – reaching out to vulnerable women who have experienced trauma to offer structured arts activities and give respite and rehabilitation to the people who need it most. The group will help offer a pathway into community activities and society for those who have been excluded.

Putting Money in Your Pocket – to help people to maximise their household income through benefit uptake, accessing affordable credit and switching to cheaper contracts.

Wallyford P7 Transition Programme – a series of adventurous outdoor activity days to develop self-esteem, self-confidence and social inclusion.

Musical Memories – to provide a regular weekly group for people suffering from memory loss/strokes and mental health issues to enjoy listening to music.

Wallyford, Whitecraig Tool Library – reducing the need to purchase costly new tools and helping to build a Musselburgh Tool Library to save on costs and storage.

The Big Family Food Garden – bringing family and friends together to have fun growing healthy, fresh food free in a welcoming local community allotment.

Wallyford Gets Active – multisport equipment for Wallyford families to get active. This project will create a working group of children, families and professionals to introduce more physical activities to Wallyford, providing the equipment and facilities to make it accessible to the community.

M-PACT Musselburgh – Parent And Child Together – connecting young people, parents and carers and schools to create a stronger community. Working together to develop family connection and openness to education, learning and employment.

The Heavy Sound Community Music Project – changing lives through music by bringing young people together who have faced significant challenges, helping them to re-engage through a range of electronic music and alternative creative arts-related activities in the community.

Eat Better Live Better – helping young people who are care experienced to eat in a healthy way on a challenging budget by offering cooking sessions and encouraging fun and flare in the kitchen. Ingredient bags to replicate at home will be provided.

Margaret Oliphant Community Garden – to allow pupils to explore and understand the growth of plants and where food comes from. Pupils and volunteers will work together to grow crops available for the whole community through a food shelf in the Margaret Oliphant Library, part of the new building of Wallyford Primary School

Musselburgh Community Kitchen – to provide a sociable environment to learn new cooking skills which are affordable and healthy, for all ages and all abilities.

Campie Cares – to help families reduce the cost of the school day and learn without worrying about money. To give children financial help towards attending one school trip and P7 camp. Help run free family events to offer help to protect against poverty.

Summer Community Cafe at First Step – providing a community cafe for all to enjoy that is free. The cafe will provide a breakfast and warm lunch to people through the summer holidays and will be a chance for people of all ages to socialise and eat healthily.

Families of the Future – to provide new opportunities and experiences for parents and families, increasing skill and knowledge, and promoting positive relationships between parents and professionals through the local community. To promote positive health and wellbeing in parents and children through a free and accessible programme.