Opening Remarks to the Young Carers’ Discussion Day – Lauren King MSYP, Lead Campaigner for #CareFairShare

April 24th, 2014

Hi everyone,

You are very welcome to our discussion day about young carers experiences and the Scottish Government’s ideas for new laws.

Young carers are generally seen as a very small minority of society. They are hidden behind a myth that every family is the same, parents are parents, kids are kids.

Having first-hand experience of being a carer means I know exactly how difficult it can be. Growing up, my brother Ryan was always my priority. No matter what I did, my brother was always on the back of my mind. It’s like a natural instinct – you worry rIMG_0461egardless of what anyone tells you.

Because of all your hard work, and work of the different services we all work with, after attending the Young Carers festival, Scottish Government ministers have asked for feedback about ideas for making new laws for carers.

As young carers, it is important we have our say about new laws which will affect us now, and in the future. We know what is best for us and the people we care for. By giving our views and opinions today, we can have a direct impact on these new laws.

This is what today is about, it is about your views. If you haven’t had a chance to have a read through your pack, please try and do so during the course of the day. It contains information about the Scottish Government’s ideas. They want to know what you think about them, what is good, what is not good, what has been left out that should be there, and areas that need more explanation and detail.

It is extremely important that young carers have their say, and today is a big opportunity for you to do that! So I would really encourage you to speak up, and give your views and opinions, if you have a view, don’t hold back. That is why we are here, so we have a chance to have our say.

In terms of how today will run, there are two sections. The first will give us the opportunity to talk about our experiences of being a young carer, the challenges we face and areas where we think there needs to be improvement.

After lunch, we will talk about the ideas that the Scottish Government has in our groups. For both sessions, there will be a member of the SYP Staff, or a staff Member from the Carers Services to help steer the discussion, and write down the important points.

Finally, this day is supposed to be informal and fun, so relax and enjoy, and most importantly, don’t leave today regretting that you didn’t say something that you wanted to.

There are lots of staff around, so if you have any questions, don’t be afraid to ask!

So enjoy the day, and remember, don’t be shy! Make sure you have your say!

Thank you.

Young carers are a sympol of all that is good about our society – Nairn McDonald MSYP @NairnMcD

April 23rd, 2014

In Scotland there are an army of young carers who take it upon themselves to care for relatives and friends without a second thought. These young carers are a symbol of all that is good in our society and yet we still fail to recognise or help these young people who provide a most invaluable service.

The Scottish Youth Parliament’s campaign, Care.Fair.Share.,  seeks to provide young carers with the support they need to do their caring duties while still maintaining a level of socialising and also to support their education. Young carers and young adult carers have an incredibly hard task of balancing education and caring duties and sometimes work. During times of hardship, concessions must be made and it is always education that suffers. Through this campaign, we hope to allow young carers to continue in education by providing appropriate measures to lessen their financial burden.

In North Ayrshire, I have been working to get as many elected members as possible to sign our pledge board and inform them about our campaign. I have so far successfully managed to get our local MP Katy Clark to sign up and support us and 8 local Councillors. I have met with North Ayrshire Council Carers Champion Cllr Robert Steel and Cllr Anthea Dixon, Cabinet Portfolio holder for Social Services. We discussed the campaign and NA Carers strategy which was designed by young carers and has been award winning.

I recently discovered that I could be considered a young carer due to the care I provide for my younger brother and my mother. Although I do little things at times, it is very stressful and I hope this has given me an insight into the world of young carers and the huge task they undertake. Young carers save this country billions of pounds each year and the least we can do to thank them for their unwavering service and loyalty to their duty is to support them in every way possible. This campaign is a great start!


Nairn McDonald MSYP

Cunnighame South

North Ayrshire


My Experience as a SYPeer – Ivory Bennett

April 14th, 2014

“I want to inspire people; I want someone to look at me and say, ‘because of you I didn’t give up’” 

SYPeer Training (20)

This is one of the few mottos I’ve lived by for the last couple of years.  I’ve strived to inspire people – even if it was just one person, because if you inspire someone you give them a chance that they may have never had in the first place – and that is a pretty amazing feeling.  Trust me.

Through volunteering with my local youth council – North Lanarkshire Youth Council – I had the opportunity to volunteer with the Scottish Youth Parliament as a SYPeer.  At first, I didn’t really think much of it as I filled in the application form, answering every question as if it was second nature; until I got the phone-call saying that I had been accepted.  If I’m honest it was one of those surreal moments when something goes in your favour that you weren’t expecting.

Being a SYPeer has definitely been a challenge for me – I’m not going to lie – I struggled. I wasn’t used to delivering sessions on my own.  In fact, I wasn’t used to doing anything on my own.  I was more used to working in a team where I could hide at the back and pretend I wasn’t involved.  Through the programme, I’ve definitely developed as a person.  I’m so much more confident than I’ve ever been in my life! I don’t think I’d ever be able to get up in front of a room full of people and deliver a presentation without being part of the programme.

Through the SYPeer Programme, I’ve experienced so many amazing opportunities that I am extremely grateful for! Meeting other volunteers has been extremely inspiring for me; to see people give up their own time to go out and volunteer, some every single day, is incredible.

The staff from SYP that are involved in the SYPeer Programme are incredible too. I’m not just saying that because I’ve worked with them, it’s true.  The relationships that are formed are amazing; they really keep me and the other SYPeers motivated. I’m one of those people who can get really de-motivated really quickly and the encouragement from the staff has really kept me going – without it I think I would have just gave up at the beginning.

Finally, if you really want to make a difference for young people across Scotland then I’d recommend getting involved with the SYPeer Programme.  It allows you to be yourself, and without sounding cheesy, if you have a goal to inspire, then this is exactly the way to do it!

So if you do decide to give it a go – sign up now!
Good luck to you all and thanks for reading my blog entry!

Ivory Bennett SYPeer, North Lanarkshire

Aye Naw Mibbe – Residential Training Weekend

April 10th, 2014

Aye-Naw-Mibbe-Logo-twiiter (2)

This weekend (Saturday 12th and Sunday 13th April) the newly recruited SYPeers and the Aye Naw Mibbe Participation Champions will be taking part in a residential training weekend where the new peer educators will learn about SYP, and develop skills in communication and campaigning. The weekend is an opportunity for volunteers to familiarise themselves with their role of championing the work of the Aye Naw Mibbe project in local communities. It is an opportunity for them to think about how to engage other young people in the voting process, and also to learn all about voter registration. We have a fun-filled and educational weekend ahead for all SYPeers and Participation Champions!

Check out what some of the MSYPs who will be attending had to say ahead of this weekends events.

Rachael McCully MSYP for East Kilbride:

“As MSYPs we are a voice for all young people across Scotland, but we also seek to empower them to use their own voice and voting is just one way we can do this. Becoming a Participation Champion will enable us to lead on our youth friendly voter engagement project, Aye Naw Mibbe. It is a fantastic opportunity to ensure young people are properly informed and can learn more about the voting process and how it affects them, and so I was delighted to have the chance to chair this group. This weekend marks the peer educator residential training, where the Participation Champions including myself, peer educators and staff will be discussing voter engagement and working to build and further shape our already successful new project, Aye Naw Mibbe. I’m looking forward to taking part and adding to this weekend’s activities and become closer with all the group. I hope we can come away with a strong foundation from which we can further engage and promote young voter engagement across Scotland.”

Terri Smith MSYP for Edinburgh and Northern Leith:

“I’m really looking forward to getting stuck into my role as a Participation Champion. The next few years are going to be exciting in terms of the democratic opportunities arising for the young people of Scotland. This weekend I am hoping to learn the importance of registering to vote and I’m looking forward to meeting the new SYPeers and working with the other participation champions”

Nicola Pringle MSYP for Midlothian South, Lauderdale and Tweedale:

“I am extremely excited for the residential weekend! It will be a brilliant opportunity to meet with the SYPeers and develop a relationship with so we can work together in the future. It’s also a wonderful opportunity to outline what our key aims are for the project. I can’t wait to meet with the other Participation Champions so we can all combine our ideas, as there seems to be plenty! This weekend will give us a chance to work together and put together a campaign which will not only attract young voters, but inform them. Excitement is an understatement!”

Do you have questions about voting and why your vote is so important? Do you feel informed and confident about how to register to vote? Get involved and share your views using #AyeNawMibbe.

Jordan Linden MSYP – Care.Fair.Share. Friday Focus – Our Local Campaign Launch

April 4th, 2014

The Scottish Youth Parliament’s National Campaign, Care.Fair.Share., is named after three simple words that carry a different story for each of Scotland’s 100, 000 young carers.

Young carers annually save the Scottish Government an estimated £1.6 billion pounds through their caring roles.

Yet the demands of education, jobs, personal relationships, and caring can end up leaving these young people exhausted, anxious, and depressed. With a lack of finance and time, they aren’t able to enjoy leisure time like other young people do.

Our campaign seeks to increase the levels of financial support for young carers across Scotland and includes aims to work with Transport Scotland to achieve discounted travel for young carers to help ease their situation.

In North Lanarkshire,IMG_0438 we are working to promote the campaign and we have just had our Local Authority wide launch of the campaign.

We were privileged to launch our campaign whilst being joined by MSPs, MPs, Councillors, and Executive Officers from North Lanarkshire Council. We were also highly appreciative to have representatives from Action for Children – the Lanarkshire Young Carers Group, representatives from North Lanarkshire Youth Council, and the six partner Youth Forums to celebrate the campaign kicking off here in North Lanarkshire.

The launch event began with a formal welcome from Elaine Smith MSP, Deputy Presiding Officer of the Scottish Parliament and MSP for Coatbridge and Chryston. Following this, Lauren King, MSYP for Motherwell and Wishaw, welcomed attendees and expressed her determination to make a difference for Scotland’s young carers, as the lead campaigner for Care.Fair.Share.

We then enjoyed an icebreaker of Human Bingo, with questions relating to the lives of Young Carers.

This was followed by the Scottish Youth Parliament’s Care. Fair. Share. Campaign Video which you can watch here.

This was followed by an interactive game called “In Their Shoes” which all guests participated in. This game visually demonstrated the barriers that young carers can face as a result of their caring roles. This activity set the tone for the rest of the evening’s discussions.

Afterwards, North Lanarkshire’s MSYPs made individual campaign pledges in the presence of the invited guests to highlight their personal commitment and determination to improve the standard of living for Scotland’s young carers.

The evening ended with refreshments and the opportunity for youth forums, young carers, youth council representatives, as well as invited elected officials to sign our Care.Fair.Share. pledge boards to highlight their support for the campaign.

Speaking about the campaign at the event Coatbridge and Chryston MSP, Elaine Smith MSP said the following:

“The issue of young carers has always been one of interest to me. Therefore, the opportunity to speak and even attend an event organised by the Members of the Scottish Youth Parliament for North Lanarkshire was fantastic. I am inspired by the work of young carers and I am inspired by the work of North Lanarkshire’s MSYPs. Seeing them fighting for the future for young people in North Lanarkshire and Scotland as a whole is incredible.

I’d like to thank them for giving me the opportunity to participate and allowing me to fully support the aims of the Care. Fair. Share Campaign”

In addition, North Lanarkshire Young Carers expressed her views on the campaign and the North Lanarkshire launch event:

“We as young carers are glad that there is a fight for young carers here in North Lanarkshire so that we too have the same equal rights and to be noticed as a priority to communities as well as to Government.

We thank the Scottish Youth Parliament and in particular the North Lanarkshire MSYPs for fighting and organising this campaign!”

Speaking about the success of the launch, Lead Campaigner and Motherwell and Wishaw MSYP, Lauren King said:

“The launch of Care.Fair.Share. in North Lanarkshire was a great success; after launching the national campaign in Edinburgh, it seems fitting to launch the campaign from my own local authority. The individual and collective work of MSYPs in North Lanarkshire, and across Scotland, is vital to the success of the campaign, to ensure that SYP defend and extend the welfare and well-being of young carers the length and breadth of Scotland.”

To conclude, it is evident that there is not only local support for the campaign but there is political support also. With the Scottish Government’s ongoing carers consultation and the increasing support for the Care.Fair.Share. campaign, it is clear that we have an opportunity to shape the future for Scotland’s young carers and ensure significant and lasting improvements to their standard of living.

I believe that the work the Scottish Youth Parliament is doing through the passion, drive, and determination of the inspirational MSYPs will once again deliver for the young people of Scotland.

My Experience as a SYPeer – Ehsan Salim

April 2nd, 2014

For me, becoming a SYPeer was a brilliant decision. Initially I was not completely sure what my role was or how I would carry it out. But with the help of the SYP staff and the excellent training they provided, I was well on my way before I knew it.

Within the first few weeks I made new friends, created new contacts and picked up new skills, all of which later proved essential to my role. At the training day in Edinburgh, not only did we go through the essential aspects of being a SYPeer, but we also had a fantastic time. The staff go out of their way to ensure that the volunteers (that’s us) have fun as well as learn.

As my time with the group progressed I became more confident. I started to take on bigger challenges, speak in front of larger audiences, and deliver better sessions. During my first session delivery I froze. It was extremely embarrassing. But thanks to the SYPeer guidance I was able to learn from the experience rather than allowing it to deter me. I become better prepared and organised for future sessions. Had it not been for this guidance I may have still been hesitant to speak in front of groups.

Not only have I had the chance to develop and deliver sessions, but I have also had the opportunity to mentor new SYPeers through their first steps. It is an amazing feeling. Helping them has given me the chance to assist in developing their skills, as well as expand my own. During my first two weeks with the new SYPeers we decided to take on the massive challenge of delivering sessions and presentations to over 1000 young people. Everyone gave it one hundred percent and without jeopardising our studies, we succeeded in our aim.

Being a SYPeer does require hard work, effort, and time. I can say with certainty that it is a very worthwhile experience. Knowing that I have made a difference to so many young people is tremendously gratifying. It is an experience that I would definitely recommend.

Everything that you learn and experience does not just stop at being a SYPeer; the skills you pick up, the friends you make go on to being a part of your life far beyond the organisation. I feel incredibly lucky to have had this opportunity. I know that when I leave the SYPeers, whenever that may be, I will leave a more confident, extrovert and responsible individual (but hopefully it will be a while before I get to that stage).

Check out the current opportunities to join the SYPeer Programme here.

The SYP Awards 2014 – Nairn McDonald MSYP and Lauren Gray Team GB

March 28th, 2014

The Scottish Youth Parliament’s 53rd National Sitting (held in Stirling on 22nd and 23rd March 2014) was a huge success and it was fantastic to see so much energy and passion from MSYPs over the course of the weekend. MSYPs are continuously working hard all year round and the voice of Scotland’s young people is increasingly heard and making an impact across the country as a result. The National Sittings provide an opportunity for the full membership to come together and share their stories of success and at SYP53, we were able to celebrate all of the determination, passion, and hard work at the SYP Awards Ceremony 2014.

Congratulations once again to all of the award winners. The winners from the evening were:

  • Support Worker of the Year – Winner: June Ford, North Lanarkshire; Special Commendation: Roanna Clark, Argyll and Bute;
  • Area or Group of the Year Winner: Inverclyde Council
  • Achievement of the Year – Winner: Scottish Borders Council
  • John McCann Unsung Hero – Winner: Terri Smith MSYP, Edinburgh Northern and Leith; Special Commendation: Jordan Linden MSYP, Uddingston and Bellshill
  • One to Watch – Winner: Wing-Yan Ng MSYP, Edinburgh Central
  • MSYP of the Year – Winner: Nairn McDonald MSYP, Cunninghame South

Nairn McDonald, winner of the MSYP of the year award, has shared a few words following the awards ceremony:

“I was honoured and privileged to receive the SYP’s most prestigious award, MSYP of the Year. It is presented to the Member of the Scottish Youth Parliament who, through their passion, commitment and determination, has delivered the most impact for the SYP over the last year.”

“It was a great honour and a real shock. There are so many great MSYPs in the organisation. I want to, once again, thank my support workers and my fellow MSYPs for supporting me through my work and congratulate them for their amazing work.”

Lauren Gray from the Team GB Women’s Curling Team was the special keynote speaker and has shared her thoughts from the event:

“Everyone keeps thanking me for attending the SYP Awards, but believe me, the pleasure was all mine. When I was researching my speech I was blown away by the various campaigns the MSYPs have been pioneering over the last few years. Then getting the chance to meet some of the young people at the heart of such projects and hear of some of the details of their work was nothing short of inspirational. “

“In the wake of low political participation, to see young Scottish people not only engaging with social issues but demonstrating such passion and interest and, furthermore, enjoying themselves was a snapshot into Scotland’s political future, and it’s exciting.”

“Thank you to everyone for the laughs we had on Saturday and for the kind tweets that followed. Your record of successes in your campaigns speaks volumes of the effectiveness of your work and I’m sure Care. Fair. Share. will be no different. Good luck!!!”

Be sure to check out the SYP Awards Photos

You can check out all of the photos from the SYP Awards on Facebook here. Once again, congratulations to everyone for all your hard work and for contributing to such a fantastic weekend at SYP53!

Aye, Naw, Mibbe – Blog Post from Kris Chapman MSYP

March 27th, 2014

Aye, Naw, Mibbe

#Registered #Engaged and #Informed

Aye-Naw-Mibbe-Logo-twiiter (2)In the next four years there will be an election every year in Scotland, a European election, a Westminster election, a Scottish Parliament election, our local government elections and of course, the referendum; defining the constitutional future of Scotland. The election cycle has begun. Political parties will be chapping at our doors, debating on our TVs and highlighting their vision for Scotland’s future. So what better time than to launch our young persons voter engagement project, Aye, Naw, Mibbe?

In previous elections,  the percentage turn out of young voters aged 18 – 25 has tended to be low. Yet the policies of our Governments can have a huge impact on the everyday lives of our next generation. Our Government have the power to change our education system, set funding that comes into our local communities, and determine what age we are allowed drive. That is why we, the democratically elected young people of Scotland in the Scottish Youth Parliament, have decided enough is enough and it is time to change.

Aye, Naw, Mibbe, is a youth led voter engagement project. Made by young people for young people. Over the next few months and years, in the run up to the respective elections, members of the Scottish Youth Parliament from Shetland to Selkirk, Argyll to Aberdeen, Caithness to Comrie, will lead on a peer to peer project to #Register #Engage and #Inform 18 – 25 year olds about the importance of voting and the difference it makes, not only national but locally in their communities.

The Scottish Youth Parliament is proof of this, over the past 15 years we have been at the forefront in setting the political agenda for young people in Scotland. In 2010 64,000 young people responded to our ‘Change the Picture’ manifesto consultation, the biggest response to any survey of its kind.  Working from this document, the members of the Scottish Youth Parliament have helped bring about votes at 16, equal marriage, and a change in government policy on a living wage. Most recently we have stood up for the most vulnerable in society with our Care.Fair.Share campaign supporting young carers to receive the support they deserve. We now have a motion going through the Scottish Parliament supporting our campaign.

We have achieved all this whilst lobbying the Scottish Government on the sidelines, but just imagine the effect we would as young people have if all of the approximated 575,000 18 – 25 year olds voted in the elections. We could set the political agenda before our campaigns have even begun.

Aye, Naw, Mibbe is youth led project and will continue to evolve, providing the information you need, on your terms. The online hub is your space to pose questions, share ideas and access impartial information on politics and registering to vote.  The hub will respond to queries, debates and FAQs to ensure you have all the details you need, when you want them.

So what are you waiting for? Get involved in the project!

•     Why not run an event or hustings in your area, encourage other young people to get involved in the debate?

•     Host an interactive session on what voting and politics means for young people in your area using the Aye Naw Mibbe toolkit.

•     Send us your questions

•     Write a blog about how you are feeling about voting in 2014

All the information you will need to get involved is included in Aye Naw Mibbe hub which you can see here – Get in touch and let us know what you need to get started!

Snapping the way to success: The story of the selfie

March 27th, 2014

At last weekend’s National Sitting in Stirling MSYPs managed to snap their way to achieving a UK wide twitter trend using #selfiesitting53.

Congratulations to everyone for such great efforts and contributing to making this happen. Trends in social media continuously provide opportunities for media savvy individuals to captivate the attention of mass audiences. Through the ever developing world of digital technology we are increasingly witnessing new apps and social media platforms launching and becoming popular overnight. The ability to engage with and utilise these media trends as a means of captivating audiences and raising awareness can be viewed as much as an opportunity, as it is a challenge. You could argue these trends provide a very unstable foundation on which you can predict success, based on their fast-paced and unpredictable nature. However, when we take a look at some of the most recent success stories from the past few weeks, there is overwhelming evidence that highlights the effective utilisation of social media trends can exceed predicted realms of possibility with regards to success. The trend which has become the central focus of some highly publicised campaigns and new stories is, of course, ‘the selfie’.

Named as the word of the year by Oxford Dictionaries in 2013, selfies have been an increasingly publicised trend. We’ve seen a wide array of politicians and celebrities get involved in the trend from Barack Obama to the famous Oscars’ selfie from Ellen DeGeneres. Over in the US a minor league baseball team, the Kalamazoo Growlers, reportedly plans to design a game jersey using selfies from their fans, which they are encouraging them to submit.

Of course, it is the fantastic campaign from Cancer Research that has hit the headlines recently after raising over £8million in a week. It is success stories like this that truly illustrate how the understanding and utilisation of trends in social media can engage mass audiences and, as a result, generate mass impact.

This week’s stories in selfies

Lauren Gray and John Loughton

You can check out some of the successes and key moments from this week that MSYPs have been involved in (in selfies, of course).


There were a lot of great photos from the March National Sitting. One of the best shots which was shared on Twitter came from John Loughton when he snapped an on stage selfie with Lauren Gray, Team GB Olympic Curler. More of the photos shared using #selfiesitting53 can be viewed in the slide show above or on Instagram here.

Scottish Government Selfies

Nairn and FM Alex Salmond SelfieScottish Government Selfie 25.03.14When the Scottish Cabinet were in Irvine earlier this week MSYPs posted their selfies with the FM, Alex Salmond and his Cabinet Ministers, online. The photos were picked up by the media and in a short space of time the story made the news.

Check out the articles from the Independent and STV by using the links.

Supportive Selfie for Care.Fair.Share from SYP53:

Lauren King campaign selfie 1

SYP53 Care.Fair.Share. Support

Keep a look out in next week’s Wishaw Press for one of these photos which were taken at SYP53 in support of Care.Fair.Share. Lauren King MSYP has submitted the photos as part of the seflie competition being held by the Wishaw Press.

To follow the pattern of success which these snaps have had throughout this week, there will be a day dedicated to Care.Fair.Share across our social media platforms on Monday 31st March. This is the day the Thunderclap petition will finish. In support of the social media activity from Thunderclap you can share your selfies in support of the campaign. Use the #CareFairShare and feel free to use a caption such as “selfie in support of Scotland’s selfless young carers.”

Kyle Thornton MSYP, Chair of the Scottish Youth Parliament – Closing speech to #SYP53

March 23rd, 2014

What a fantastic weekend of activity, debate, and celebration and what a fantastic display of direct democracy.

We have had a jammed pack weekend with some fantastic Members Motions debates, active and engaging subject committees, a wonderful SYP Awards last night, and inspiring keynote speaker and many more.

Firstly, could I extend my sincerest thanks to Bill and his team, and to Stirling and Clackmannanshire Councils for hosting what has been a fantastic weekend. Without your hard work, the weekend would not have been the success that it has.

SYP National Sittings are the time when we come together as a full parliament, they are the cornerstones of SYP, they are why many of us became MSYPs… because we want a platform to be able to represent the views of young people, and bring about positive change shaped by those views.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of you, our MSYPs, for once again raising the bar in terms of the energy, enthusiasm and quality of our sittings. YOU, are the life-blood of SYP. Without your hard work, SYP would not be able to perform in the way that it does, and without you, we will not be able to continue to raise the bar.

I want to focus my final remarks on the future, the rest of 2014. What a year we have ahead of us, what a year for the young people of Scotland.

This is our time, it’s our place.

This year we, as MSYPs, as young people, have the opportunity to bring about significant change.

Turning to our national campaign, we have a huge opportunity to make a difference to the lives of young carers in Scotland. These young people provide an invaluable service to their families, their communities to their country. We know that many of these young people are facing significant financial hardship; many of them are struggling to make ends meet.

This is not fair, they deserve better, and we can fight to get them a better deal.

SYP Campaigns are not about a small number of people, not just the Board, not just the Conveners, not just staff. They are about all of us! They need all of you in order to be successful! Many of you have been doing some fantastic work in your local areas, keep it up and let’s challenge ourselves to do even more!

The level of twitter activity this weekend has been amazing, let’s keep it up! SYP relies on you, to get the key messages of our projects and campaigns out there, we need your re-tweets, your favourites, your likes, your shares! I am sure most of you will have now joined the SYP Thunderclap for Care.Fair.Share. this weekend, go out and encourage other young people to do the same.

Rhoda Grant MSP has recently submitted a motion to the Scottish Parliament on CareFairShare. If the motion gets enough signatures from MSPs from all parties, we will have a full debate in the Scottish Parliament about Care.Fair.Share. This is a fantastic opportunity, but we need your help! We need you to email and write to all your MSPs and encourage them to sign this motion.

I really encourage all of you to get stuck into the campaign, use your toolkit, tweet, re-tweet, share, write blogs for the SYP Website, keep up to date by reading the SYP News, which from January is now issued every fortnight.

If there is anything you need help with, or if you have suggestions about how we could improve the MSYP toolkit or the campaign itself, contact the Board, Conveners or Staff members at any time. We are only too happy to help!

In order to be able to assess whether our campaign has been a success, we need to keep track of all the fantastic work we are doing. So I would really encourage you all to work with the Conveners and Staff to feedback all of your fantastic work. On a final note about the campaign, I would just like to pay tribute to Lauren King. Lauren, thank you for all of your hard work on the campaign so far, you were the person who championed this issue from its very beginnings here at SYP and you continue to be the strong CareFairShare advocate we have – thank you.

The 18th of September 2014 will be historic day for Scotland, when the Scottish people will carve their own futures.

Young people, above all other groups, have a massive stake in this important decision about Scotland’s future. It’s vitally important that whatever our view is, we make that view known by casting our vote.

A lot has been said in the media recently about young people being disengaged from politics, and disengaged from the referendum. All of us in this room over the course of this weekend know differently. We know that young people are very engaged and interested when they are given the space to talk about the issues they want to talk about. We know from our work with SYP that, YES, many young people are disengaged with politics, but it is the confrontational, party political spin politics that puts them off.

We know that young people find it difficult to relate what has commonly known to be “modern politics”, characterised by suits and bitter fights across the floor of parliament and in the national media, to their everyday lives.

All of us have a very important role to play over the coming months. We must work together with other organisations to ensure that young people have access to the sources of impartial information and opportunities to engage that will give them the knowledge and confidence to make an informed decision for themselves.

We must work together to challenge both campaigns, and the political parties to present their arguments in a more positive light, rather than focussing on discrediting the arguments of others. Young people need to be given clear answers about the different options for their future, free from spin and polished answers.

If young people have this information, a clear understanding of the options available to them and an opportunity to speak to the campaigns on their owns terms, in their own environment, getting real answers to their questions, they will engage, they will think about their futures, they will vote.

Our recently launched Aye, Naw, Mibbe project aims to increase awareness about the importance of voting and civic participation. SYP have been working with other organisations across the third sector to develop a joined up approach to helping steer young people to the sources of information and opportunities to engage.

Our youth engagement team will be out on the ground in schools, in universities and colleges, in youth clubs talking about Aye, Naw, Mibbe, talking about the importance of registering to vote. We will be doing a lot of work online trying to direct young people to our online Aye, Naw, Mibbe hub.

We need your help! Contact SYP and find our youth engagement team will be in your area, and go out and speak to young people. Tweet, re-tweet, share and promote the importance of the participation of young people.

By working together, we can help provide young people with the knowledge and confidence to engage with the debate, find out what they think for themselves, and make an informed decision.

This year is a massive year for young people, it’s a year where all of us can make a real difference.

This is our time to speak up for Scotland’s young people, more than ever before.

That is the year ahead of us.

I have just a few announcements to make before we leave.

I am delighted to announce that the our 54th National Sitting will take place on 4th-7th June in Shetland, and our 55th National Sitting will take place on the 4th and 5th of October in Perth.

Once again could I thank Bill and all his team for their hard work, could I thank all of the support workers for all the work they do to support us as MSYPs and for facilitating our involvement this weekend.

Most of all, can I thank all of you for, once again, raising the bar, for continuously improving what we do, and for making this weekend such a fantastic and memorable occasion.

See you in Shetland.

Thank you.