TURNING POLITICS ON ITS HEAD North Edinburgh residents to lead the debate in ‘upside down hustings’

Tuesday 8th November at 9:49am

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Community campaigners in north Edinburgh are turning the traditional hustings model, which sees political candidates telling voters what they will do if elected, on its head.

Pilton Community Health Project (PCHP) is bringing together a group of grassroots ‘experts’ from across the north of the city to tell politicians what changes are needed to improve the area.

Issues to be addressed at the ‘upside down hustings’ include mental health services, housing and community safety.

It is hoped the discussion will help shape political parties’ manifestos for next year’s city council elections. The outputs from the debate will also be fed into the 2050 Edinburgh City Vision.

The public event will take place at Royston Wardieburn Community Centre on 23 November at 6.30pm. Media are invited to attend 

Anita Aggarwal, PCHP’s Community Development Manager, said

“Too often in the run-up to elections we hear candidates telling the public what they will do if elected. In an era of greater community empowerment, this feels like it’s the wrong way round so we’re flipping the traditional hustings model on its head and creating an opportunity for the people of north Edinburgh to tell the candidates what they want.

“We’re bringing together a panel of residents who are experts on some of the key issues affecting our community. Candidates in next May’s Council elections will have the opportunity to ask the panel questions and discuss how their manifestos can help address the issues raised. There will then be an open discussion which everyone in attendance can contribute to.”

The following subjects are currently lined up for discussion at the event:

  • community involvement in shaping local services
  • mental health services
  • housing
  • services and facilities for young people
  • local environment 
  • community safety

Invites have issued to the main political parties inviting them to field their candidates or prospective candidates in the elections to the City of Edinburgh Council on 4 May 2017.

Anita added:

“We hope this will be the start of a constructive dialogue with local politicians through until next year’s elections and beyond. We are also excited about the opportunity to influence longer-term thinking about Edinburgh’s future by linking up with the #Edinburgh2050 initiative.

“While parts of Edinburgh continue to prosper there remain some serious social and economic inequalities between different parts of the city.  Men in the most deprived areas of Edinburgh can expect to live over ten years less than those areas with the lowest levels of deprivation.”

Community activist Sandra Marshall said:

“It has been proved that collaboration and co-production work – there are good examples from throughout Europe.  Perhaps it is time to take community engagement and empowerment to the next level – can north Edinburgh become a centre of excellence in this?”

Register for this event here 

Find the event on facebook  here



1. Pilton Community Health Project (PCHP) is a registered charity that since 1984 has been working with people in north Edinburgh to enable them to take steps towards better health. It runs food, physical activity and community integration projects, as well as providing counselling to both adults and young people. Find out more at:





2. The PCHP ‘upside down hustings’ will take place at Royston Wardieburn Community Centre on 23 November at 6.30pm. The event is open to the public and media are also invited to send reporters and/or photographers.


3. The City of Edinburgh Council is embarking on a project to develop a vision for 2050. This will involve residents, businesses and groups from all sectors. More details are available at:



For further details about the event please contact:

Anita Aggarwal, PCHP  Community Development Manager

Tel: 0131 551 1671 anitaaggarwal@pchp.org.uk