This paper uses discourse analysis to explore individuals’ use of two discourses in Scottish rural health community participation. It explores interview texts from a community participation project to design new services. Findings show that some community members employ discourses of rural localness and tradition to augment their credibility and gain influence. In particular, community members employ discourses that prioritise the voices of those perceived as local, and when discussing doctors and nurses, prioritise those who display idealised characteristics associated with local traditional provision. In examining these prominent discourses, the paper suggests that community participation involves more complex power-plays than simply those between health service managers and the public, that tend to be portrayed in health policy. Power-play between community members could affect processes and outcomes of community participation.