CHILDREN from local primary schools snapped up the “once-in-a-lifetime” chance to have their say on how a budget of £20,000 is spent in the Musselburgh area.

They came up with 115 ideas on how to improve their schools and the community in just 30 minutes at an event in the Brunton Hall last Thursday.

The venture, Your Voice, Your Choice, was 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. All schools in the Musselburgh area were invited to last week’s brainstorming event.

Vivien Struthers, an area partnership member and chairwoman of the project steering group, said: “What an inspiring event. The children were confident, clear and committed to their project ideas and now all they need is an adult to help them submit their ideas as applications to the Your Voice, Your Choice programme before February 1.

“Not only does the Your Voice, Your Choice programme provide a platform for our young people’s voices to be heard, it also ensures that our young people will be the only ones who can vote on what projects get funded on decision day – February 27 at the Brunton Hall.

“This is about inspiring our young people to take ownership of their ideas and, by being part of this programme, experience what it feels like to make something happen that delivers a positive outcome in their school and community.”

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 East Lothian Council via the Scottish Government’s Community Choices fund.

The pupils used flip charts and yellow stickers to put forward their suggestions under various headings.

In relation to raising attainment and achievement, a wide variety of ideas were put on the table such as a homework and spelling group, new gym equipment, a drama club and after-school maths club.

Suggestions to reduce inequalities and include others ranged from a community orchard and P7 buddies to a football pitch and more time at Olive Bank, Musselburgh Athletic’s football ground.

Initiatives to improve health and wellbeing included a healthy tuck shop, breakfast clubs, free sports clubs, healthy cooking classes, first aid courses and expressive feelings clubs to help children feel better.

There were many ideas to improve safety, such as warning signs for speeding, cycle paths and training, fire safety and national disaster training, posters to stop parking outside schools, bullying and internet safety clubs.

Iain Clark, chairman of the area partnership and the project’s vice-chairman, said: “It was an exciting opportunity to let our primary school pupils showcase their talent and allow them an opportunity to think about things that are important to them. I was so impressed with the ideas they came up with in such a short time. I would like to thank the schools that took part for allowing the pupils the time out of school.”

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