SYP55 National Sitting
Louise Cameron MSYP, Chair of the Scottish Youth Parliament
Welcome everyone to the Scottish Youth Parliament’s 55th Sitting in Perth, right in the heart of Scotland! I am so excited to be welcoming you all to this sitting which will be my first Sitting as Chair! First and foremost, I would like to extend my warmest thanks to Perth and Kinross Council for hosting us.
It has been an incredible few months settling into my new role.
The last time I seen most of you was on the beautiful island of Shetland which I think will be an extremely memorable sitting for us all, but the months following have been absolutely jam packed full of activity in SYP. We as an organisation have had a huge amount of success in these months and we are expanding very quickly with the amount of young people we are reaching.
So, to start I would like to say a huge thank you to everyone in the room. We have made it through the referendum and we as an organisation have engaged thousands of young people. Our organisation has had incredible success in terms of engaging with young people throughout this process, and every single member has contributed to showing that young people are engaged in politics.
Ready Steady Vote Week and the Aye Naw Mibbe project led to us engaging with over 10000 young people directly as well as registering nearly 3000 people to vote.
On Twitter we had the hashtag #YourVoteMatters, as a result of a very successful partnership with Twitter, which was mentioned nearly 7000 times, and we gained over 300 new followers. We did that in two days.
As an organisation we worked together and we have proven the strength and quality of our outreach activity and just how strong it is when we work as a collective unit. SYP has been absolutely instrumental in ensuring that young people can have their say, and we have proven the case to get 16 and 17 year olds the vote in all future elections. As a result of your work, SYP has earned a profound and lasting legacy from the referendum.
We now have a duty to ensure that young people continue to be at the forefront of politics, and we cannot let Votes at 16 slip away from our reach, especially when we have defeated every single argument against it by proving that young people are listening and they are engaged.
This weekend we get to pick our new campaign for the year ahead, however we will also get to hear about the progress with Care.Fair.Share from Lauren King, the campaign lead and also Nairn MacDonald who is the new Conveners Trustee on the Board.
At SYP we have recently released a unique piece of research called a Costly Youth: The Impact of Caring on Young People in Scotland, which is the first of its kind for our organisation. It highlights financial circumstances which carers face and the impact this can have on their educational, social and emotional development.
Not only does this put SYP on the map in politics, demonstrating how we are contributing to the wider research and policy landscape, but it is also a very emotive piece of research with shocking figures showing the hardship faced by these young people. If you haven’t already, I would encourage you to read it on our website.
I would just like to thank Lauren for her work on the campaign this year, Lauren has been an extremely inspiring and charismatic debate lead and has personally put so much time into ensuring our campaign is not just brushed under the carpet but remains a priority with key decision makers. Together, we are shaping the country we live in, and, through all your local campaigning efforts, we are creating a Scotland where young people have influence and can affect change through their strong and influential youth parliament.
In other news, We-CTV has been launched, a popular project which we run in collaboration with the No Knives Better Lives initiative. For those of you who don’t know, it’s a competition and this year they are raising awareness of interpersonal violence. We will be hearing from the We-CTV champions later to hear about the project and their vision of how SYP will take it forward.
And lastly we have launched the national elections process for the 2015 membership! How time flies when you’re having fun! Between now and the start of November we will be looking for candidates for the next membership and we will show you a little video about the elections over the course of the weekend.
So what do we have planned for you over this weekend?
As always we have so much exciting and innovative activities crammed in over the weekend! We have Members Motions, Campaign Selection, Subject committees and some youth engagement activities.
We have a new structure for Members Motions based on the feedback from MSYPs from the outcome of the Procedures Group consultation, so this weekend we will be doing members motions a little bit differently! We will try to debate as many motions as possible, taking them in the order determined by the online vote, as voted on by MSYPs. This means that if we have a clear consensus on a motion and there has been enough debate on it then we can move straight to the vote. I hope this explains it to you briefly for now but I will explain again when we get to that section.
We will have our update from Lauren and Nairn about Care.Fair.Share and we will also will get to pick our brand new shiny campaign for the year ahead! We have some exciting and interesting options up for the campaigns so choose wisely!
Also we will have a variety of Subject Committee activities over the weekend which will let you have some thought provoking discussions with your committees.
With a fantastic weekend ahead of us, I hope you all have a great time. Join the fun on twitter with the hashtag #SYP55. We have a weekend of celebration from all that we have achieved in the past few months, but I hope that it’s also a weekend of ambition and determination to do even better, and take SYP to a new level!
It is now my pleasure to welcome Provost Liz Grant to the stage to welcome you to Perth.