Opening Doors to democracy

Opening Doors Shadow Scheme

Leith Open Space Group launched  the Opening Doors shadow scheme in October 2006 to encourage local people to take part in our democratic process. At the same time we set out to give our politicians new insight into the lives of the communities they represent.

By shadowing city councillors, MPs and MSPs you can gain insight into how  decisions are made in City Chambers or Parliament. You will also learn how decisions can be influenced by local communities at grassroots level.

How does the shadow scheme work?

Participants from Edinburgh North and Leith can shadow local councillors, MPs, MSPs, and other community leaders. Activities vary depending on individual interests but participants generally spend four to six days over the course of up to two months. You will get the chance to  observe debates in council or parliament but you can also  follow  politicians & community leaders on their daily tasks. We ask participants and politicians to keep a diary recording what they learn from each other.

Who can take part in the shadow scheme?

Opening Doors is open to anyone interested in local democracy.  You do not have to be a member of any political party to take part.

The scheme began with support and sponsorship by Edinburgh North and Leith branch of the Labour Party. Since then the cross-party scheme has worked mainly with local politicians in parliament and city council, but other placements are possible and we have arranged interesting shadowing partnerships with other community groups and environmental organisations.

If you are interested in taking part please contact:

Fay Young, Leith Open Space co-ordinator


For more information click on  Opening Doors in the side column and to get personal views of people taking part click on Journal of the Week.

Malcolm Chisholm welcomed a group of Opening Doors participants to join him for a day at the Scottish Parliament during the first year of our shadow scheme. From the left Subash Punn, Fay Young, Asha Pal Singh, Malcolm Chisholm, Dougie Kerr and Celina Mwbiria

2 thoughts on “Opening Doors to democracy”

  1. We are hoping to launch a new programme in February 2011 as preparation for the forthcoming Scottish Parliamentary elections in May 2011.

    If you would like to take part please leave your name and contact details here and we will send an application form.

    look forward to hearing from you!

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