Youth Parliament speaks out about House of Lords session, and EU votes for 16 and 17 year olds.

November 19th, 2015

Scottish Youth Parliament Press Office

Today the House of Lords passed an amendment to the EU Referendum Bill that could allow 16 and 17 year olds to vote in the, yet unscheduled, EU membership referendum.  Although the Bill and the amendments still have a long way to go, the Scottish Youth Parliament does view today’s result as a win for young people across the UK.

Chair of the Scottish Youth Parliament, Jordan Linden MSYP said:

“A core principle of the Scottish Youth Parliament is that young people should have a say in the issues that affect them. To help realise this ambition, we have campaigned tirelessly to win the right to vote for 16 and 17 year olds here in Scotland since our organisation began in 1999.  In the Scottish Referendum last year, we saw just how broadly young people participated at the ballot box by casting their vote to have their say in the future of their Country.

“The future of the United Kingdom’s membership within the European Union will greatly affect the future of all young people across these islands, and therefore it is imperative that we have our say at the ballot in the Referendum on the European Union.  We are very happy about the result in the House of Lords today, but recognise there is still a long way to go.

“Here at the Youth Parliament we are not only campaigning to change the voting age, but also for a change of mentality.  We want to live in a world that recognises our voices matter; that’s not just here in Scotland, but across the United Kingdom – our voices must be heard.”


Notes to editor


  1. The Scottish Youth Parliament is the democratically elected voice of Scotland’s young people.
  2. All media enquiries to Anna Dickens Communications Officer, 07753 410676/ 0131 524 0818,

SYP Chair, Jordan Linden MSYP – Speech at the launch of the Child Rights Manifesto

November 18th, 2015

Good Afternoon Colleagues,

Can I begin this Afternoon by sharing how pleased I am to be here at this, my first meeting of the Cross Party Group on Children and Young People, as the new Chair of Scotland’s Youth Parliament. I’m even more pleased to be able to introduce the CPG to the continued work of the Scottish Youth Parliament and in particular our unwavering commitment to the realization of Children and Young Peoples Rights, and indeed ensuring their voices are heard. I am particularly pleased to be here for the launch of the CPG’s Child Rights Manifesto, which, I sincerely hope, will provide an invaluable focus on this crucial issue in the build up to the elections in May.

However, before all of that – I’d like to re-introduce the Scottish Youth Parliament to Members. The Scottish Youth Parliament is the democratically elected voice of Scotland’s Young People made up of 160 Elected MSYPs serving young people in every Constituency in every Scottish Local Authority and indeed representatives of National Voluntary Organisations too. Our Youth Parliament is one which has the rights agenda at the very core of all of it’s work, and in it’s Youth Led Structure I would argue that it is an organisation which enshrines Article 12 of the UNCRC in everything it does.

Our organisation serves to ensure that all decisions that are taken that impact on Young People or indeed their futures reflect the views of Young People – and we continue to champion their voices and their views in all that we do – to help deliver a better future for all of Scotland’s Young People.

It’s my privilege therefore that our friend the Children and Young Peoples Commissioner for Scotland, Tam Baillie extended an invitation to myself and my Board – to be the key hosts for a visit to Scotland by the Vice Chairperson of the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child, Ms. Amal Aldosseri in September this year, as the elected voice of all of Scotland’s Children and Young People.

If you will indulge me, I’m keen to share with this Cross Party Group, just a flavour of the fantastic visits, which my colleagues and I along with the Vice Chairperson made to both Glasgow and Fife.

We undertook visits to a host of environments working with and around Children and Young People during the Vice Chairpersons visit.

From visiting the Children’s Parliament in Falkland, to Kirkland’s High School in Fife and on to the Fife Youth Arts Hub in Kirkcaldy. Each visit in Fife presented us with the difference stories and indeed experiences that Children and Young People have had in relation to the lenses of the CRC.

Our final day was kicked off with a Live Glow Meet between myself and the Vice Chairperson to over 30 Schools in Scotland – engaging directly with Children and Young People – through a Question and Answer Session.

It was the day that the photo of Aylan Kurdi appeared in the National Media and touched the hearts of everyone across the Nation. I remember this, because of a question that a School Pupil asked the Vice Chairperson and I. The Young Girl asked, “Do the Refugee Children who are coming from other countries like Italy have the same rights as those in Scotland.”

I wanted to share that with you. Because it struck a cord with me, with Amal and with everyone in the room. How nuanced the knowledge and emotional intelligence is of our Children and Young People – the innocence of the question – that showcases our true humanity.

After the formal welcome event in the Scottish Storytelling Centre, we visited organisations such as WhoCares Scotland and Clan Childlaw, who shared first hand the work that they do with Children and Young People in Scotland.
One of the visits in Glasgow which will stay with me for all of my days, is a visit to the Glasgow City Mission, and spending the Morning with Parents and their small Children – the time was spent playing in the play room but also – hearing first hand the impact of Welfare Reform to people in Glasgow and I suspect across the Country.

There was so much that was discussed during those two days that we hosted the visit by the Vice Chairperson, that it will be hard to reflect the scale and depth of the incredible conversations and rich discourse which we had.

But some key messages that I took away from the visit was the sheer impact that Child Poverty is having across our Communities in the United Kingdom and indeed, as I have highlighted, the impact which Welfare Reform is having to the Communities most in need – hearing stories of Benefit Sanctions and impact on peoples lives.

Other issues we heard about where the Minimum Age of Responsibility and importantly, the case for Scotland to have a stronger voice in the United Nations Reporting Process. I cannot stress enough, how clear it was to us, that the voices not only of Scotland but of all the Devolved Nations across these Islands – are in urgent need of having their voices heard more loudly and more clearly by the United Nations to ensure that they are being held to account for their decision making and indeed ensure that the realization of Children and Young Peoples Rights become an even greater priority.

So important it was, that the voices and views of Scotland’s Children and Young People be heard, that we then had the opportunity for two of the Board to travel to the United Nations in Geneva to speak at the Pre-Sessional of the Committee on the Rights of the Child and in particular at the Children’s Meeting and the Pre-Session itself where both Ewan McCall MSYP and Kirsty McCahill MSYP made fantastic contributions.

Kirsty and Ewan focused in their evidence session on the impact on Children’s Rights that Child Poverty is having, an in particular, the recognition that the existence of Child Poverty and need for structural change is causal to the lack of realization of Children’s Rights. In addition, they continued to champion other issues, particularly, on the case for Votes at Sixteen in all Elections in the United Kingdom – recognising the importance which we as elected Young People place – to ensuring that we continue to foster participation in Politics by Scotland’s Young People.

In closing, I’m delighted to be able to join you all here for this meeting of the Cross Party Group on Children and Young People and I hope that you have found my remarks to be interesting, informative and my sincere hope is that you found them to be challenging and thought provoking also.

You will very shortly be watching the Vine Videos that share important messages on Children’s Right’s and I hope that you enjoy them.

Thank you again for inviting me and I want to end by saying this, the power which we in this room, and indeed all of those who work with Children and Young People have in changing the future is huge. SYP fully supports the manifesto and we will be encouraging the MSPs and prospective MSPs we meet in the weeks and months ahead to read it and sign up and ensure that children’s rights are central to all of their decisions and actions.

I look forward to working with all of you to deliver a better and fairer future for all of Scotland’s Children and Young People.

North East Fife By Election – Nov 2015

November 11th, 2015

To fill a vacant MSYP seat in North East Fife, there will be a by-election run by the local authority.  The election will run from 16th November to 23rd November, with the results being announced on the evening of the 23rd.

There are three candidates running, and you can find out more about them by reading their manifestos here:

Ben Lawrie – find his manifesto here

Ewan Redpath – find his manifesto here

Kirsty Rodger – find her manifesto here

Find out more about the election here.  On the 16th November, the site will become open for voting!


SYP58 Closing Remarks from Jordan Linden, MSYP Chair of the Scottish Youth Parliament

October 28th, 2015


Well, what a weekend this has been!

Your second National Sitting as a Member of the Scottish Youth Parliament of the 2015-2017 Session has come to a close, and I hope that you have had a wonderful weekend.

This weekend, like every weekend spent with MSYPs has been an absolute privilege, an absolute pleasure and an absolute blast. I have loved every minute spent in your company. For me, highlights of my time as an MSYP are always the ones which are spent with you.

I wanted to highlight some of the incredible things which we have done over this weekend. Beginning with the incredible debates on members motions led by Andrew Kirk, Skye Brettell, Terri Smith, Kain McLeod, Ruraidh Stewart, Kirsty McCahill, Ewan McCall, Lewis Akers, Lewis Douglas, Heather Cameron, Euan Waddell and Cian Gullen.

We have selected a National Campaign that will fundamentally help shape the future of Scotland through policy changes or actions – and it will be because of you. Together, we will take forward our campaign on mental health, and I know, like our previous campaigns, we will succeed!

Our success comes from you, our Members – so please let us know what you’re getting up to as MSYPs – tweet us, email us, pop in to the Office and visit. Our Staff Team are on hand to help and support in anyway they can, from support to contact your Local Media to arranging meetings with your MSPs – our team are happy to help.  We want you to get behind the projects we’re running; but most importantly we want to know and promote the amazing work that you are doing locally!

I wanted to remind you all that there is still time to get your Lead the Way survey responses to us – please make sure you get responses to your Support Workers, so that every survey can be counted. If we are to meet our target of 70,000 responses, we need the help of single person in this room- so please do everything you can to get as many completed consultations back to us as soon as you can.

Coming back to look at what has happened this weekend and in particular on that fantastic campaign we have selected – I do want to congratulate all of the presenters of all of the Campaign Options, Rachael McCully, Alex Robertson, Molly Kirby, Mark Swan and James Thomson, because all of the speeches which were delivered for all of the campaign options were truly incredible and I feel it’s important to recognise that. So a huge well done!

Of course, earlier today we heard from our friend the fantastic Children and Young Peoples Commissioner for Scotland, Tam Baillie on our relationship as an organisation and of course the work that his Office is doing to champion the Rights Agenda.

Reflecting though on this weekends sitting in general, it’s important to recognise as with any event, these sittings do not happen without the hard work and dedication of a number of people and organisations.

I want to pay tribute and thank, Emma Ball and our kind hosts for this weekend, East Renfrewshire Council, for hosting us and organising what was a fantastic evening and incredible entertainment last night. MSYPs can I please ask you to show your appreciation for our hosts, East Renfrewshire Council.

Without this group of special individuals, our work couldn’t take place and we would never be able to achieve the things that we achieve. Our Support Workers are pillars of the work that we do, their support, dedication and belief in the work of the Scottish Youth Parliament drives us forward. I’d like to ask you all, again, to show your thanks for the work of our Support Workers.

There is a special member of Staff within our Scottish Youth Parliament Staff Team, without her, the sittings simply would not happen. Rosy Burgess, is our SYP Events and Campaigns Officer – Rosy thank you for your incredible work over the last few months to make this weekend happen. MSYPs please show your appreciation for Rosy Burgess.

SYP Sittings require a team effort to happen, from co-ordinating with partners, to working hard together to make it happen. Our Scottish Youth Parliament Staff Team are one of a kind, their commitment to ensuring that SYP provides the opportunity and space for its members to create change is second to none. Can I pay tribute to their work and thank all of them for their work. MSYPs please show your appreciation for our fantastic SYP Staff.

My final thanks, is to all of you. Your Passion. Your Enthusiasm. Your Commitment and Respect. Your work this weekend, has meant that the voices and views of young people in your communities across Scotland, have been heard and have fundamentally progressed the participation agenda, and serves as wonderful promotion of the fulfilment of the rights of young people in Scotland.

I want the focus of my final remarks to be on the future, and what’s around the corner for us an organisation.

We have been working hard to develop a new Strategic Plan for this organisation, embedded within it are the principles that underline, protect and deliver the rights of young people, as stated in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. This three-year approach, will allow a stronger, more secure and productive future for this Youth Parliament. At the absolute centre of this plan is a determination to enhance our engagement with all of Scotland’s young people and to build on and expand the participation and involvement of MSYPs in decision making at a community, local and national level.

Over the next few months, we will be working hard to embed this, and ensure that SYP is seen as the go to organisation, and the leading force in the promotion and defence of, the rights of young people in Scotland.

You, the Members of the Scottish Youth Parliament define who we are and what we do as an organisation and what we can achieve. Just as there is no limits to what you can aspire to and achieve, so too are there no limits for us as a collective organisation.

This weekend, you have selected mental health to be your National Campaign for next year. Over the next few months, the Conveners will be working hard with our staff team to develop a comprehensive MSYP led campaign strategy so that we can hit the ground running and with a bang when we launch the campaign that you have chosen, in January 2016.

With a New Year, comes new ambitions and new aspirations. Over the next few weeks, we will know the outcome of the Lead The Way Manifesto Consultation! This is a defining moment in the history of SYP. Our Membership will have the opportunity to launch a manifesto that will last for the next FIVE YEARS! Your work in the final weeks to ensure as many young people as possible participate will provide Lead The Way with the strongest and largest democratic mandate in SYP history and the largest youth consultation of it’s type in Scotland.

I referred to one of our sayings that are often associated with us in my opening remarks yesterday. SYP is a little about politics, and a lot about YOU!

Being part of our organisation and representing the views of your constituents is as much about your development as a person, an individual, as anything else. It’s about the experiences you have, the friends you make, and the change you bring about. Make the most of it. Take every opportunity that comes to you! Make your own opportunities! Together, when we think together, stand together and believe together – we can achieve together!

Over the last few years we have, together, achieved a huge amount. But, of course, now is not the time to be complacent. There are major opportunities on the horizon: such as the Scottish Parliament elections next year.

That is a huge opportunity for us to ensure that the voices of young people are heard, and our views are accounted for by Scottish politicians in the years ahead.

So- here is my challenge to you. Let’s, all of us, work together to make sure that all of the political parties, and all of the candidates in the May election, know where we stand. Every one of you can play your part in that- by talking to every MSYP candidate about the issues in Lead the Way and make sure that the voices of young people are heard!

And now, for something quite exciting. I am delighted to announce that the 59th National Sitting of the Scottish Youth Parliament will be held in 13th and 14th March 2016 in the Scottish Borders.  We will be in touch with everyone over the next few weeks with more details, and Members’ Motions suggestions will open in December.  The March 2016 Sitting also includes the SYP Awards, and nominations will be opening in November, so start thinking about who you would like to nominate to receive an award at this celebration of your first year as MSYPs!

I want to end, by thanking you all for the passion and enthusiasm that you have demonstrated this weekend. I look forward to hearing about all the amazing work which you are doing over the next few weeks.

I would encourage you to please keep in contact with your Regional Board Members to keep us informed of the incredible things which you are doing across the country to make a difference to the lives of Scotland’s young people.

Thank you all for a truly special weekend- you have been fantastic. I hope that you feel as energised as I do by all that we have achieved over the last couple of days, and that, like me, can’t wait to get started on the work that is about to begin. Every single one of you is making a real and tangible difference to the lives of Scotland’s young people, through all of your hard work. As you travel home, I hope you remember that, I hope that you take pride in it, and I hope you continue to work as hard as you can to deliver a brighter future for every young person in this country.



See you soon!


Opening Remarks from Jordan Linden MSYP, Chair of the Scottish Youth Parliament

October 24th, 2015

Good morning MSYPs!
Jordan Linden Chair
Can I begin by extending a huge welcome to you all and in particular a warm welcome to Giffnock here in the heart of East Renfrewshire.

I’d like to offer my thanks to East Renfrewshire Council and in particular Emma Ball for their kind offer to host this 58th National Sitting of Scotland’s Youth Parliament and indeed in hosting this evening’s entertainment also.

Scottish Youth Parliament National Sittings are a wonderful manifestation of the core purpose of this great organisation.

Our purpose is to provide a national platform for young people to discuss the issues of importance to them and to campaign to affect the change they wish to see.

I know that many of you will have been out in your communities across Scotland consulting and engaging with young people about the Members’ Motions, which will be debated at the sitting this weekend, and indeed the campaign that we, together, will select to be our focus for the year ahead.

In this sense, there is no better display of our core purpose and goals than these, our National Sittings, and I know, that will be why many of you will have decided to stand for election to this, the Scottish Youth Parliament.

I know that for me, it was the spark that ignited my passion for representing my constituents, and as I shared with you in my Closing Remarks when you elected me as your Chair, I said:

“I got involved in SYP because I was a young person who didn’t have a voice when I was younger. I experienced bullying at times, and I wanted to make sure that young people across Scotland, and in particular in my area, never experienced this or felt that they too did not have a voice.”

Just like me, you all have a personal story and journey, so far, that has led you here, to the Scottish Youth Parliament. I know that the passion that you have for ensuring that the voices of young people in your communities are represented and that those views are harnessed to bring about real change, is so fundamental to the success of our organisation. I have no doubt that you will continue to champion this passion throughout our weekend.

For that reason, I’d like to use my Opening Remarks to do something new at SYP Sittings. I want to reflect on some examples of the outstanding work which MSYPs are doing across the country.

Since that first sitting of newly elected and re-elected Members in Renfrewshire in June, earlier in the year, it’s been a very very busy few months.

For example, I know that:

The Shetland and the Edinburgh MSYPs have gathered almost 15,000 consultation responses between them- what an achievement that is! I wonder if any other regions can top that?

The Health and Wellbeing Committee was represented by Martin Gallacher MSYP, their Convener, at an international health and wellbeing conference where he delivered a keynote address on the relationship between poverty and health.

The Dundee MSYPs have been working tirelessly to deliver an extensive consultation programme with young people in their communities to ensure as many of their voices are heard in the debates this weekend.

Aqeel Ahmed MSYP and Osama Nadeem MSYP grilled the Secretary of State for Scotland on what more he would do to ensure Scotland’s voice was heard in the reporting process on the rights of children and young people, and on how the powers in the Scotland Bill could address child and youth poverty in Scotland.

And Girl Guiding MSYP Emma Rattray facilitated a table of young people at the recent Children and Young People Summit in Oban, with the Scottish Government Cabinet, including the First Minister Nicola Sturgeon.

I felt it so vitally important that I use the first part of my inaugural speech to you as a Membership, as your Chair, to celebrate the work that you have been doing. I also want to reaffirm my commitment to you, today, to do this at every opportunity I get throughout my time as your Chair.

Of course, that was just a snapshot of the amazing work that has gone on in your communities in just three short months. I’m particularly looking forward to the regional session where we will have the opportunity to share best practice and build friendships with neighbouring authorities and Members.

Now I want to turn to SYP’s activity on a national level.

Our National Campaign “POVERTY: See It  Change It” has gone from strength to strength culminating in the publication and launch of our  “It’s Not A Choice” Report yesterday to mark the end of Challenge Poverty Week.

In addition, we celebrated 16 incredible years of our Parliament’s life in June and launched the biggest ever consultation for Scotland’s young people, our Youth Manifesto “Lead The Way”.

Over the last few months, MSYPs have been engaging with tens of thousands of young people across Scotland. Right now, I can tell you all, that there are more than 140,000 Lead The Way Consultation sheets in communities all across Scotland! What an astonishing achievement in your first months!

So that was a quick summary of all the fantastic things that have been going on so far this year, locally and nationally.

As you will remember, one of the key pledges of the Board you elected in June was to make sure as many MSYPs as possible could benefit from training and development opportunities.

In the last few months alone, over 30 Members of the Scottish Youth Parliament have now received newly developed MSYP media training and there will be further opportunities in the coming months ahead.

MSYPs have attended many local and national events on behalf of the Scottish Youth Parliament such as the stakeholder engagement event with the Secretary of State for Scotland, David Mundell in Edinburgh, and the Human Rights Act Engagement Event with the First Minister of Scotland, Nicola Sturgeon.

MSYPs continue to feature heavily in our fortnightly SYP News, showcasing the great work you are doing in your local communities, and sharing your best practice with fellow MSYPs. SYP News also features many exciting opportunities that are open to ALL MSYPs- if you want to take up an opportunity, like the ones I have just mentioned, they are only a click away! So keep an eye on your official SYP email.

We also ran a very successful discussion day in partnership with the Scottish Government regarding “New Psychoactive Substances” which will fundamentally inform the Scottish Government’s approach to tackling the issue and I know that many of you here today attended that event to ensure that you represented the view of your constituents.

When this Board, your Board, stood for election, we promised to ensure that more of you than ever could avail of the wide ranging training and development opportunities that are a key part of being an MSYP. As you have heard, the local and national achievements, the training and development opportunities, and all of our other activities has made for a jam-packed few months, as we have settled into our new roles.

Given all this amazing activity, all that is coming up, and the strong commitment we made on our election to devolve as many opportunities as possible, we have been considering for some time how to best achieve this.

Therefore, I am delighted to announce today that the Board will be developing and publishing a new Opportunities Policy. This will set out how all policy and media opportunities are offered out to MSYPs and explain the decision making process that is followed whenever one of these opportunities is presented to us. When complete, the new Opportunity Policy will be available to all of you.

We also said that we wanted you, our Members, to have the chance to hold your Board to account on the work we have been doing on your behalf.

As such, we have introduced the first ever LIVE, Online, Board Question and Answer sessions so that MSYPs have more opportunities to ask the Board, that they elected back in June, what progress has been made so far and keep holding them to account. If any of you ever want to ask any Board member a question- now you have that opportunity. And, if you aren’t able to participate, please don’t hesitate to email any questions to me directly. I can promise you that we will answer every one.

However, let’s turn now, together, to the present, to the here and now, to this, our 58th National Sitting – where we will work together to set our direction for the months to come, when we debate policy and crucially, decide our National Campaign for 2016.

Of course, as well as all of the serious business to cover, this weekend will be one of the many wonderful opportunities to build relationships with new friends, and to strengthen the friendships we already have.

The Scottish Youth Parliament is a little about politics and a lot about you! It is a fantastic opportunity for us to develop our skills and confidence, so I would really urge you to make the most of this weekend, and really truly get involved with all of the sessions.

I know first-hand, how daunting it can be, to speak at a sitting – but I want to make this clear – this Youth Parliament and this Sitting, is a safe space. It is a place for you to have your voice heard and champion Scotland’s young people. Let me say this, as your Chair, you have my commitment to making sure that we live up to that ethos in everything that we do.

I think that you have heard enough from me, and if I continue to talk, to build it up, to hype it, to make it any more exciting than it already is – I may pop!

So let’s get on with it! Let’s Lead The Way!

Youth Parliament wraps up Challenge Poverty Week with release of research report, saying young people think poverty isn’t a choice.

October 23rd, 2015

Scottish Youth Parliament Press Office

Youth Parliament wraps up Challenge Poverty Week with release of research report, saying young people think poverty isn’t a choice.

The Scottish Youth Parliament (SYP) has released a research report, titled It’s Not A Choice, that explores how young people perceive poverty, its causes, its impacts, and what policy responses should be used to address child and youth poverty. The title of the report reflects a key finding; only 11% of young people think that poverty is solely a result of a person’s choices.[1]

This finding is in contrast to the Scottish Government’s 2015 finding that 72% of wider Scottish society believed that individual factors such as parents not wanting to work, or drug and alcohol addiction were the reasons behind child and youth poverty, as opposed to structural factors.[2]

The research for It’s Not A Choice was compiled by Members of the Scottish Youth Parliament (MSYPs) in conjunction with their current national campaign, POVERTY: See It Change It.Jordan Linden - Uddingston and Bellshill

As an organisation, SYP’s ethos and values are fundamentally grounded in rights, and more specifically the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC). Here in Scotland, 1 in 5 children and young people are living in poverty. SYP sees this as not only unacceptable, but also as a failure on the part of the government to protect the fundamental rights of children and young people. The research findings found that 94% of young people believe that governments have a responsibility to protect the rights of children and young people.[3]

Speaking ahead of the launch, SYP Chair Jordan Linden MSYP said:

“It is clear that young people realise that poverty isn’t a choice, and it certainly isn’t the choice of the children and young people who are being affected. When you are born into something, like poverty, you didn’t choose it, so we need real change and fast action to break this cycle. We also need to challenge the negative stigmas that are often associated with poverty. These adverse attitudes are a result of a lack of understanding about poverty’s true causes. Young people’s understanding that poverty isn’t a choice paves the way for a change of attitude within wider society.

“Poverty is an issue that transcends party politics, and goes right to the core of who we are as a nation and as people. Through our research, we found that the vast majority (94%) of young people believe it is the responsibility of governments to protect and uphold our rights.  Every child and young person living in poverty is a direct failing on the part of our governments to uphold those rights.

“My fellow MSYPs and I will use this research to challenge our leaders to address child and youth poverty with urgency, and to involve the voices and opinions of young people. We believe this is an issue that can be solved, and our research shows that young people have very clear ideas about how this can be done. They told us there should be an increase in vocational education, the living wage should be paid, we should be improving higher education, there should be affordable childcare, and we should improve schools in deprived areas.

“At the heart of all of this research is the fact that 1 in 5 children in Scotland are living in poverty. This is completely unacceptable. The future of each of those children and young people is in jeopardy, and so is the future of our nation if we don’t address this dire problem. We hope the UK and Scottish Governments will take drastic action to fulfil their promise to eradicate child poverty by 2020.”

SYP will release the full research report on Friday morning, 23rd October at a youth centre in Barrhead. Partners, elected leaders, and interested parties will be attending the research launch, and the report will also be widely distributed to MSPs, elected leaders, and third sector organisations. The report will also be available on after the official release.



Notes to editor

  1. All media enquiries to Anna Dickens, Communications Officer, 07753 410676/ 0131 524 0818,
  2. The Scottish Youth Parliament is the democratically elected voice of Scotland’s young people.
  3. Elections to the Scottish Youth Parliament take place every two years. The new membership was elected during the March 2015 elections, where a record number of votes were cast. A full list of the newly elected Members of the Scottish Youth Parliament can be found at
  4. The Scottish Youth Parliament launched its POVERTY: See It Change It campaign on Friday 23rd January 2014.
  5. The next National Sitting and AGM will take place this weekend, 24th and 25th of October, during which the new membership will select the topic for their next campaign.


(1)Scottish Youth Parliament (2015), It’s Not A Choice, pg. 16

(2)Scottish Government (2015), Public Attitudes to Poverty, Inequality, and Welfare in Scotland and Britain, pg. 14

(3)Scottish Youth Parliament (2015), It’s Not A Choice, pg. 29

Learning the positive lessons from the referendum – Speech to the Generation Devolution Event, London – @JLindenMSYP

September 11th, 2015

Good evening everyone,

Firstly, I’d like to begin by thanking the UK Parliament and the British Youth Council for inviting me along to speak this evening at what is certain to be a fascinating and insightful event.

My name is Jordan Linden, and I am the Member of the Scottish Youth Parliament for Uddingston and Bellshill, and the current Chair of the Scottish Youth Parliament. For those of you who aren’t already aware, the Scottish Youth Parliament is the democratically elected voice of Scotland’s young people. We exist to provide a national platform for young people to discuss the issues of importance to them, and to campaign to affect the change they wish to see.IMG_0558

Whenever I received the brief about this evening, one line really struck me. It’s something that we all already know of course, but I think it’s the first time I’ve seen it written in black and white: The current generation of young people are the first to have only experienced politics within the context of devolution and the three devolved legislatures.

What a fascinating thought to explore further throughout the course of this evening.

I think one of the challenges of this discussion, is that the developments in devolution since its inception have largely taken place bi-laterally between our respective nations, and the UK Parliament and Government here in Westminster. That, of course, means that we will all have different perspectives and experiences of devolution, and its developments, across our different countries.

From a Scottish perspective, there is no doubt that the referendum has fundamentally changed the political landscape, and the level of engagement in Scotland.

We are almost exactly a year since the referendum, and I have thinking about what we have learned with the benefit of hindsight. What explains the surge in engagement in the referendum, and following it, and what lessons have been learned to ensure that it continues?

Firstly, I am certainly of the view that the success of the referendum in terms of engagement can be better explained by thinking of it more as process, rather than of a one off event. I think the Scottish people felt that they were part of a national conversation. It wasn’t a discussion about political parties, it was a discussion about people, and what their vision was for our country. Certainly from the point of view of engaging with young people, it provided a relevance that we sometimes see lacking in traditional party politics and in other elections.

Ultimately, it was a very positive conversation, albeit with a few heated moments. In thinking about the next stages of devolution across the UK, our experience in Scotland tells us that its success depends on that grass-roots, bottom up, people’s discussion.

Although all of our organisations have always known this anecdotally through our work, we now know for certain that young people care about politics, certainly issue based politics. We know that young people want as much factual information as possible before they make their decision; they want to know how their vote will affect their everyday lives. This has been further supported by extensive social attitudes research undertaken by the University of Edinburgh.

We know that young people appreciate politicians making a genuine and meaningful effort to speak to them directly to answer their questions, in an environment that is comfortable for them. They want to be confident that they are being given factual and genuine answers to their questions based on a relationship of mutual respect. This is a major lesson that political parties need to learn and take on board moving forward.

In addition, we know how valuable educational institutions, youth work networks and other voluntary organisations throughout society can be in terms of starting the conversation with young people about politics, and why it’s important to vote. Surely this makes a compelling case for much more substantive, robust and consistent political and civic education as a key part of the curriculum across all parts of the UK.

In terms of what young people think the next phase of devolution should look like in Scotland, it’s difficult to say just now.

There can be no doubt that devolution has been a profoundly positive development in Scotland in terms of engaging with young people. However, this doesn’t mean just devolution from London to the Scottish Parliament, but also devolution to local authorities, to schools, to communities.

Bringing decision making closer to the people the decisions impact makes politics more relevant.

Over the next few months, we at the Scottish Youth Parliament will turn our focus to working together with political parties, schools, colleges and universities, and across the third sector to ensure that young people in Scotland engage with the Scottish Parliament elections in May 2016. With many 16 year olds voting for the first time, we have an opportunity to create generation of young voters that will be activity participants in democracy for the rest of their lives.

Whatever devolution looks like going forward across our nations, our experience in Scotland tells us that it has to be a discussion led by people.

Thank you.







#TellTheUN – @JLindenMSYP, Chair of the Scottish Youth Parliament

August 31st, 2015

On Wednesday 2nd and Thursday 3rd September, the Vice Chairperson of the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child, Ms. Amal Aldoseri will visit Scotland to hear directly from Scotland’s children and young people about their experiences of life here in our country.

The visit will help the UN Committee with its consideration of how Scotland and the rest of the United Kingdom are performing in relation to promoting and protecting the rights of children and young people as outlined in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.Jordan Linden Chair

For me, this is an incredible opportunity for children and young people to have their voices heard loudly, clearly and directly by the United Nations about what they feel is working well, and what needs to be improved.

As the democratically elected voice of Scotland’s young people, Scotland’s Commissioner for Children and Young People, Tam Baillie, has asked the Scottish Youth Parliament, and myself as the newly elected Chair along with our Board, to act as the key host for the duration of the visit, on behalf of Scotland’s children and young people.

At the Scottish Youth Parliament, our role is to represent and make strong links with the young people we represent locally. Therefore, during Ms Aldoseri’s visit we will be escorting her around a number of projects and discussion groups to showcase the fantastic work many organisations do to promote the rights and the participation of children and young people, but also to highlight the areas where we can work together to improve.

As part of the visit, wIMG_2192e want to make sure that young people across Scotland can get involved and feel like they are a part of Ms Aldoseri’s visit, wherever they may live in our country. That’s why we are encouraging young people across Scotland to tweet their questions, views or thoughts using #TellTheUN! During the course of the visit and afterwards, we’ll do our best to ensure as many of your views are conveyed to Amal as possible.
I feel incredibly proud and privileged that SYP has been asked to act as the host to Ms. Aldoseri during her visit – and the opportunity to once again work in partnership with organisations across Scotland who share our commitment to ensuring the rights of children and young people are promoted and protected is one which we relish.

So in closing, I’d really like to urge all young people to take the opportunity to share their views with Ms. Aldoseri during her visit so we can ensure that the genuine voices of young people are heard!

Remember, all you need to do is tweet using #TellTheUN!



Scottish Youth Parliament achieves Investors in Young People Gold accreditation

July 23rd, 2015


Scottish Youth Parliament achieves Investors in Young People Gold accreditation

Today, the Scottish Youth Parliament (SYP) achieved the Investors in Young People (IIYP) Gold accreditation. SYP is one of only six organisations in Scotland to have achieved the gold level accreditation, demonstrating its commitment to helping young people grow and develop in the workplace.

Introduced by Investors in People Scotland, IIYP is an accreditation scheme which helps organisations implement a nationally recognised framework helping them to engage and develop a talent pipeline for the future.  Working across the private, public and third sector, the framework provides advice, recommendations and best practice regarding the recruitment, employment and training of young workers.

The Scottish Youth Parliament first achieved the Investors in Young People accreditation in January 2015.

As a youth-led organisation, investing in young people and supporting them to achieve their full potential is at the heart of the Scottish Youth Parliament’s core values and vision.

Jordan Linden MSYP, Chair of the Scottish Youth Parliament, said: “I’m delighted that the Scottish Youth Parliament has become one of the first organisations in Scotland to achieve the gold level accreditation. We are totally committed to empowering Scotland’s young people, and supporting them to lead the way in shaping their own future.

“Employers across all sectors have a crucial role to play in supporting and empowering young people. I hope we will see more organisations in Scotland undertake this fantastic accreditation scheme.”

Peter Russian, Chief Executive of Investors in People Scotland, said “This is a fantastic achievement for the Scottish Youth Parliament, and I and the whole IIYP team would like to wholeheartedly congratulate them. The Investors in Young People framework not only recognises and supports organisations in the employment of young people, but marks them out as an employer of choice.

“The benefits of recruiting and developing young people are countless. These include the creation of a talent pool for the future, new and increased skills in areas such as IT and social media, fresh eyes and mind-sets into business operations along with enthusiasm and unique talents.”


Youth Parliament launches biggest ever manifesto consultation

June 30th, 2015






Scottish Youth Parliament Press Office

Today, the Scottish Youth Parliament launched its youth manifesto consultation, which seeks to gather the views of thousands of young people across Scotland to develop a national youth manifesto.

Former Chairs of the organisation, current and former members, and partner organisations gathered at an event in Scotland’s capital to mark SYP’s 16th Birthday, and celebrate the achievements of Members of the Scottish Youth Parliament throughout the years.

The manifesto consultation, entitled Lead the Way, offers Scotland’s young people and opportunity to be the driving force and shape the years ahead. Members of the Scottish Youth Parliament will be consulting with young people all over the country, about a wide range of policy issues, to establish the biggest youth manifesto ever produced in Scotland.

In 2011, the Scottish Youth Parliament published its 2011-2016 youth manifesto, Change the Picture, which saw around 43,000 young people share their views on a range of issues of importance to young people.


Jordan Linden MSYP, Chair of the Scottish Youth Parliament, said:


“As a youth-led organisation, our consultation work is at the very heart of everything we do and forms an invaluable part of our vision and values.”
“Young people must be at the heart of discussions about their future, leading conversations in their communities, schools, colleges, universities, and workplaces. Young people are not only the future of our country, they are the present. The purpose of today is very simple, we are asking the young people of Scotland to lead the way.”
“Our previous manifestos have given us the mandate to make significant changes in local and national policy, including ensuring 16 and 17 year olds could vote in the referendum and in the Scottish Parliament elections next year. I think it’s fitting that we celebrate these achievements today, but that we also look forward and ask ourselves what more we can do to empower young people to make significant change.”
“Through our manifesto consultation, we will ensure young people’s voices are heard. The views of Scotland’s young people underpin everything we do as an organisation, and our 2016-2021 youth manifesto will allow young people to truly lead the way in championing the issues that young people care about.”


Notes to editor

1. All media enquiries to Gareth Brown, Public Affairs Coordinator, 07753 410676/ 0131 524 0818,