Chair’s Blog – October

It’s been a busy month for SYP and for myself as Chair as our national campaign, Love Equally, now is about us all banding together and ensuring that the Scottish Government receive the most positive response to their Marriage Equality consultation that we can give them. A lot has been going on in SYP HQ, pushing forward the campaign with a brilliant event hosted in our very own offices and picked up by numerous newspapers and radio and TV stations. The press conference was of faith organisations who support SYP’s core campaign belief that all couples, be they homosexual or heterosexual should be allowed to marry. This builds on the great momentum we already have here at the SYP offices and on the amazing series of positive press coverage we have been receiving.

The SYP tour has now finally begun as Marie Gallagher and I travel all over Scotland to the different regions delivering SYP training and giving you face to face updates on what’s going on in SYP, opportunities available to you at that time and a chance to get to know the other MSYPs in your region. So far two tour events have been held with Marie and I going to Inverurie, where we received over 30 consultation responses in under an hour, and board trustee Jordan Linden and Marie Gallagher attended the SYP event held at Ayr. With a good number of events to go I can’t wait to get down or up to all your arenas and get some good old fashioned campaigning done, with a little bit of a laugh and free food thrown into the bargain.

The Cross Party Group on Children and Young People, on which I serve as Vice-Convener for, held its last meeting in the Parliament on the 29th of September where we looked into the current Welfare Reform Bill that is going through the Westminster. It was expressed that we as a whole Cross Party Group had serious concerns that the bill have many ill effects for families’ children and especially lone parent families’ children in Scotland. Our report went to the Scottish Government and days latter the Government passed a motion refusing to give legislative consent to the bill. While this is truly only a symbolic measure it does send the UK Government the message that there are flaws, we feel, within the bill and hope that it will be changed before implementation.

In September, YouthLink Scotland held a national summit where many different youth organisation came together to develop a communiqué to be sent to the Government discussing the position of Youth Work Services. I attended the event on behalf of the SYP and it was a brilliant event where both Annabel Goldie and the Secretary of State for Justice Kenny McAskill attended. I spoke about how, in my opinion, Youth work breeds diversity into our society and how without it young people would lose the chance to expand their interests and themselves as a people.

Renfrewshire Youth Voice invited me to attend an event where they were honouring the young people in their local area for the fantastic work that they have been doing. Awards ranging from young musician of the year to young career of the young. It was an honour to be invited to the event and asked to present an award. Thank you to all the members of RYV and once again congratulations to all the winners.

This coming Wednesday, thanks to recent partnership work between myself and a charity known as Open Door, I secured places for two West Lothian MSYPs, David Leitch and Allanah Peters, to attend and speak at Open Door’s AGM.

Finally I was on Brian Taylor’s Big Debate last week representing the SYP. It was an amazing experience and the feedback we have received has been excellent. I hope you had the chance to tune in and listen.

The October Sitting is only weeks away and I can’t wait to see you all again in North Ayrshire. I have been sending you out information about the sitting in dribs and drabs over the last few weeks and as you can see it is going to be a jam packed agenda. I’ll see you all there. If you have any questions please feel free to ask us on day, or if you have any feedback or questions in advance of the meeting please email me grant.costello.msyp@sypmail.org.uk

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