Discovering the inner workings of Edinburgh political life

“As a small business owner  I had always wondered how decisions were made by the Council…”

Tracy Griffen signed up with Opening Doors to find out more about local politics. Here she  explains what she learned by shadowing Councillor Nick Gardner at his work in the City Chambers and out and about in the community of Leith Walk.  Our thanks to Tracy for taking part in the shadow scheme and for providing us with such excellent feedback.  Now, over to Tracy…


Tracy in blue tracksuit by a cherry blossom tree
Tracy Griffen, of Griffen Fitness Ltd

Many thanks for allowing me to see how things work at City Chambers. I really enjoyed the opportunity and found it a valuable experience.

As a small business owner and secretary of the Edinburgh branch of the Federation of Small Businesses I had always wondered how decisions were made by the Council. Shadowing Councillor Nick Gardner was hugely informative and helped me better understand how to liaise with the Council on business matters. Nick took me under his wing and talked me through the processes and procedures of each meeting. He made me feel very welcome and explained everything thoroughly (and patiently!).

Taking part in the Opening Doors scheme also introduced me to a number of Councillors I had not met before, which I am sure will come in useful with small business campaigning in future. It was very enlightening to hear the ‘inside story’ and I was made to feel very welcome. Nick also listened to my opinion of the meetings and was overall very encouraging.

I would highly recommend the experience to anyone interested in finding out more about or getting involved in local politics. Opening Doors is a wonderful scheme and fantastic opportunity to understand the inner workings of Edinburgh political life. I now truly appreciate the good work our local Councillors undertake.

Thank you!

Tracy Griffen, owner Griffen Fitness Ltd

And thanks again to Tracy. Many of you will already know her as a very active member of Leith community. If you would like to know more about Opening Doors to Democracy or take part in the shadow scheme please get in touch with us by emailing

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