Archive for the ‘News’ Category

Youth Parliament Chair encourages young people to stand in the SYP Elections

Tuesday, October 14th, 2014

 

Louise Cameron MSYP, Chair of the Scottish Youth Parliament

Louise Cameron MSYP, Chair of the Scottish Youth Parliament

Louise Cameron, Chair of the Scottish Youth Parliament, encourages young people to stand in the SYP Elections 

The Scottish Youth Parliament elections will be taking place in March 2015. The call is now open for young people all over the country to register their interest and stand as candidates to represent young people in their area.

The Scottish Youth Parliament is the democratically elected voice of Scotland’s young people and campaigns on a wide range of issues, and represents young people all over Scotland. It gives young people a national platform to voice their issues, turn them into positive actions, and influence Scotland’s decision makers.

To register interest to represent a local constituency, young people aged 14-25 should complete a Candidate Expression of Interest Form by Friday 31st October. Further information is available at www.syp.org.uk/elections.

Louise Cameron, Chair of the Scottish Youth Parliament, said:

“During what is such an exciting time to be involved in the heart of Scottish politics, I am delighted to announce that the call for candidates is now open for the SYP Elections 2015.

“The Scottish Youth Parliament is an entirely youth-led organisation, and Members of the Scottish Youth Parliament represent the views of young people across Scotland and strive to make a real difference by campaigning on the issues that matter the most to young people.

“Being a Member of the Scottish Youth Parliament is a truly life changing experience. I would like to encourage young people from all over the country to consider standing as a candidate and to grasp this opportunity to ensure young people are continually at the forefront of shaping our society.”

Current Members of the Scottish Youth Parliament (MSYPs) have produced a promotional video to encourage others to get involved in this opportunity to stand as a candidate and potentially become an MSYP.


Youth Charities Call On The Smith Commission To Consider Votes At 16

Monday, October 13th, 2014

Scotland will be viewed as a world leader by fully engaging and empowering its 16 and 17 year olds as fully franchised citizens active in the political life of the country.

The past few months have clearly marked a new era of democratic engagement. The Independence Referendum engaged young people in the political landscape in an unprecedented way. Over 100,000 16 and 17 years olds registered to vote.

Evidence shows they were amongst the most informed, engaged and questioning voters, carrying out their own own research and using multiple sources in order to come to their own personal decision. Many young individuals dedicated countless hours to campaign for both sides. On September 18th 2014, queues of young people entered polling stations for the first time in order to have their say on Scotland’s future, valuing that responsibility and casting their vote.

We, as an alliance of Scottish Youth Charities, representing 1.1 million young people, are united in our belief that we cannot let young people down and must continue to fully engage them in the democratic process. We as a country need to capture this emergent enthusiasm for the democratic process. We need to stimulate their ongoing involvement and we need to value their contribution.

We are therefore calling on Lord Smith to recommend a mechanism for the franchise for all future elections in Scotland to be extended to 16 and 17 year olds.

The Smith Commission should build in enfranchisement of our young people as a key principle and a core value in a fully engaged and effective devolved administration.

This ground-breaking enfranchisement of young people will ensure their voices are heard now and for generations to come.

We, as national third sector organisations working with young people in communities across Scotland, stand ready to support them.

Louise Macdonald, Chief Executive, Young Scot, said: “Young people have put to bed the myth that they are not interested in being involved in the democratic process. The huge level of engagement in the Independence Referendum vindicates all those who have campaigned for the extension of the franchise to 16 and 17 year olds. The truth about Scotland’s young people is that they are switched on, engaged and passionate about the difference they can make to their local communities and to tackling local and national issues.

We know that young people are doing amazing things to make their local communities a better place to grow up every single day. We look forward to continuing to work with them to support them to become active local, national and global citizens, whose contributions are valued and acted upon, and where young people – as shown throughout the debate – are leading the future of Scotland right now.”

Louise Cameron, Chair of the Scottish Youth Parliament, said: “The referendum has proved young people take the right to vote seriously. Over 80 per cent of young people registered to vote, and we have earned an extension of the voting age to all elections.

“I urge Lord Smith, the Prime Minister and the UK Government to look to our experience in Scotland when considering a new devolution settlement for Scotland and the rest of the United Kingdom. The ability to lower the voting age to 16 for all Scottish elections should be part of this settlement.”


Youth Parliament to campaign to tackle child and youth poverty

Sunday, October 5th, 2014

The Scottish Youth Parliament’s (SYP) new national campaign will aim to tackle child and youth poverty.

Members of the Scottish Youth Parliament voted on a shortlist of campaigns on Saturday afternoon at their National Sitting held in North Inch Community Campus, Perth. The winning campaign was announced by Vice Chair, Terri Smith MSYP on Sunday 5th October 2014.

Speaking immediately after the announcement, the Chair of the Scottish Youth Parliament, Louise Cameron MSYP, said:

“I am delighted that Members of the Scottish Youth Parliament have chosen to campaign to tackle child and youth poverty.”

“Research has shown that growing up in poverty affects the opportunities children and young people have available to them. We firmly believe that this must change and that more needs to be done to support these young people.”

“The Scottish Youth Parliament has made a huge impact with our previous campaigns, Love Equally and Care.Fair.Share. I have no doubt that we can be equally successful with this campaign and make a real difference to benefit the young people of Scotland.”

 

 

 

 

Youth democracy descends on Perth

Tuesday, September 30th, 2014

 

Scottish Youth Parliament Press Office

Youth democracy descends on Perth

SYP53 Care.Fair.Share. Support

This weekend, the Scottish Youth Parliament (SYP) will host its 55th National Sitting in Perth.

The Scottish Youth Parliament is the democratically elected voice of Scotland’s young people. Nearly 160 Members of the Scottish Youth Parliament (MSYPs), who are elected every two years, meet three times a year at National Sittings to debate policy, select campaign priorities, and host events with stakeholders and other guests.

This Sitting is a key event for the SYP as this is when the full Membership of the organisation will vote on the national campaign priority for the coming year. These meetings are hugely important occasions that provide a platform for youth-led debate and decision making, truly empowering Scotland’s young people.

Speaking before the event, the Chair of the Scottish Youth Parliament, Louise Cameron MSYP said:

“Nearly 160 young people will meet in Perth this weekend to debate policy, select a national campaign, and discuss how we can continue to engage young people across the country in politics.

“Through their engagement and participation in the independence referendum, young people across Scotland have demonstrated that they are interested in politics and they want to have their say.

“Our National Sitting is a vital opportunity for the Scottish Youth Parliament to ensure young people can continue to be heard by decision makers and shape their own futures. I am looking forward to meeting in Perth and discussing the issues that young people have told us matter to them, and working with my fellow MSYPs to affect positive change for young Scots.”

Also speaking ahead of the weekend, Dillon Kennedy, MSYP for Perth, said:

“I am looking forward to having the opportunity to welcome my fellow MSYPs to my hometown constituency for the Scottish Youth Parliament’s National Sitting. MSYPs are continually campaigning and working hard to engage young people across the country. I am excited to grasp this great opportunity to showcase the fantastic work the elected MSYPs for Perth and Kinross have been doing in our constituency.

“I hope that my fellow MSYPs will have a great time in Perth Sitting and that our Sitting will result in discussions and policy that benefits young people across the Scotland.”

Perth and Kinross Provost Liz Grant said that she was looking forward to welcoming the Scottish Youth Parliament to Perth, and added:

“I am delighted that the Scottish Youth Parliament will be holding their Sitting in Perth this weekend. The Youth Parliament is an excellent example of how young people can get engaged in the political process. We are fortunate in Perth and Kinross to also have a very active Youth Council and I hope that the Scottish Youth Parliament visit to this area will encourage more local young people to engage with politics at both a national and local level.”

Scottish Youth Parliament Chair says a lowered voting age must be part of new Scottish and UK devolution settlements

Tuesday, September 23rd, 2014

 Scottish Youth Parliament Press Office

Tuesday 23rd September 2014

©DN Anderson

Scottish Youth Parliament Chair says a lowered voting age must be part of new Scottish and UK devolution settlements

The Chair of the Scottish Youth Parliament, Louise Cameron MSYP, has called on the political leaders of Scotland and the United Kingdom to include lowering the voting age to 16 as part a new devolution settlement for Scotland and the wider United Kingdom.

Speaking after the First Minister praised the level of engagement among 16 and 17 years old in the Scottish independence referendum, and a pledge from Ed Miliband at the Labour Party Conference in Manchester, Cameron said that lowering the voting age must be part of any new agreed devolution settlement.

Cameron, an 18 year old from Moray and Chair of the Scottish Youth Parliament said:

“The Scottish Youth Parliament and our partners have campaigned for the voting age to be lowered since the Scottish Parliament was established 15 years ago. When this was included in the Edinburgh Agreement, we accepted the opportunity to engage and inform young voters.

“The opportunity was also for the young people of Scotland to prove that they take the right to vote seriously and justify for it to be extended across all UK elections. With over 80% of young people registered to vote, young people have proven that we take our right to vote seriously, and we have earned an extension of the voting age to all elections.

“As Chair of the Scottish Youth Parliament, I know how engaged young people have been over the recent months. As an organisation, we have been working hard to remove any potential barriers to participation. Scotland’s young people have been on an amazing journey. The national discussion about the future of Scotland has captivated an entire generation of young people. We have an opportunity to harness this engagement and ensure it continues for future elections and I urge the Prime Minister and the UK Government to look to our experience in Scotland when considering a new devolution settlement for Scotland and the rest of the United Kingdom.”

Youth Parliament Chair says the journey to deciding Scotland’s future begins now

Friday, September 19th, 2014

 

Scottish Youth Parliament Press Office 

  Friday 19th September

Youth Parliament Chair says the journey to deciding Scotland’s future begins now

©DN Anderson

The Chair of the Scottish Youth Parliament, Louise Cameron MSYP, has said that the real work for deciding Scotland’s future begins after the referendum.

The Scottish Youth Parliament has been working on a large scale young voter engagement project from January 2014.

Speaking after Scotland voted to remain part of the United Kingdom, Cameron, a first time voter herself, spoke of the significant amount of positive work that had gone in to engaging young voters, and of the need to harness this post-referendum in order to shape a new phase of devolved politics in Scotland.

Speaking after the announcement, she said:

“Many people will say that the announcement of the outcome of the referendum was a historic moment in Scottish history, but I think the real achievement of this referendum has been the process. For the last two years, Scotland has been on the most amazing journey of political engagement, civic participation and national discussion.

As a young person, I have been absolutely astounded at the amount of effort that has gone in from schools, youth groups and other civic and voluntary organisations, and the campaigns, to try and remove barriers to participation and actively engage young people, particularly those young people who face more challenging circumstances. I am proud that the Scottish Youth Parliament led the way in developing innovative ideas and methods to engage thousands of young people, in an impartial manner, pointing them to sources of information to help them make an informed decision for themselves.

The process, and the level, of participation combined with extraordinary efforts to engage young people is the real achievement of this referendum. We have a once in a lifetime opportunity to build on what has been achieved through this process, to harness all of the positive young voter engagement work that has taken place over the last two years to ensure Scotland’s young people play a key role in shaping  the next phase of devolution in Scotland. The journey of building Scotland’s future begins now, and we all have a responsibility to ensure young people are at the heart of it.”

Louise Cameron MSYP: Young people must shape our future today, but the journey is only beginning

Thursday, September 18th, 2014

Today, we will witness one the greatest acts of self-determination in history where our country will go to the ballot box to decide the course of its own future.

There will be much analysis and discussion about the result, a lot of celebration, and a lot of disappointment. I don’t think anyone could say that this debate lacked passion. However, instead of focusing on the outcome, and what it might be, I want to focus more on the process.

However, I think we need to cast our minds back to October 2012 to fully appreciate what has been achieved from the process. The Scottish Youth Parliament, along with other organisations successfully campaigned for 16 and 17 year olds to be able to vote for the first time in recent history. This presented both a huge opportunity, and a huge challenge.

It’s no secret that young people aged 18-24 have always been lowest age demographic to turn out to vote. This has always led to all sorts of unsubstantiated remarks such as “young people just don’t care about politics.” From our work at the Scottish Youth Parliament, which primarily focuses on engaging young people with politics on the basis of issues rather than political parties, we knew that wasn’t true. Yet it was always quite tricky to disprove, until October 2012.©DN Anderson

For the last two years, Scotland has been on the most amazing journey of political engagement and civic participation. There has the usual confrontational party political element as always, but I guess that is to be expected; both sides are trying to win a debate. However, what has been more prevalent and more important is how the people of Scotland, and civic society, have engaged in this debate which will fundamentally define our path for generations to come. Many people who have never voted in their lives, or were once voters and have since become disillusioned, have become engaged or re-engaged over the last number of months. What is more impressive still is that the debate has turned into one of not just constitution, but of national identity, civic pride and self-determination.

As a young person, I have been absolutely astounded at the amount of effort that has gone in from schools, colleges and universities, youth groups and other civic and voluntary organisations, and the campaigns, to try and remove barriers to participation in this debate and actively engage young people, particularly those young people who face more challenging circumstances.

I am proud that the Scottish Youth Parliament has led the way in developing innovative ideas and methods to engage thousands of young people, in an impartial manner, pointing them to sources of information to help them make an informed decision for themselves. As an organisation, we have been out and about in schools, youth clubs, colleges and universities and city centres all over Scotland speaking to thousands of young people about why it’s important to vote.

The process and the level of participation, combined with extraordinary efforts to engage young people, is the real achievement from this referendum.

The task now is to build on this achievement. All of us have a responsibility to take the lessons, both positive and negative, and learn from them.

However, turning back to the vote itself, I want to encourage all young people to ensure that, regardless of their view, they turn out and vote. Historically, big decisions made by Governments and political parties have tended to disproportionally take into account the views of other demographics at the expense of young people. This is because those sections of society vote. If we want to have a say, if we want to be able to shape the future of our country, we must get out and vote.

In addition, there is a lot at stake. The Scottish Youth Parliament has long fought for the lowering of the voting age to 16. This has been an incredibly effective tool for engaging with young people for the referendum, as schools and colleges provide an invaluable forum in terms of accessibility. We want the voting age to continue to be 16 for all future elections. The eyes of the world are on Scotland, and the lowered voting age has been one of the most interesting topics for discussion. We have an opportunity to prove that when 16 and 17 year olds are given the right to vote, they will use it. If turn out is high, we have a mandate to secure the right for 16 and 17 year olds to vote in all future elections.

 
We have a once in a lifetime opportunity to build on what has been achieved through this process, to harness all of the positive young voter engagement work that has taken place over the last two years to ensure Scotland’s young people have their voices heard, as well as secure the right to vote for 16 and 17 year olds for all future elections. We all have a responsibility, so let’s work together and make it happen.

 

Youth Parliament Chair urges young people to get out and vote

Wednesday, September 17th, 2014

Scottish Youth Parliament Press Office

Wednesday 17th September

Youth Parliament Chair urges young people to get out and vote

 

©DN Anderson

The Chair of the Scottish Youth Parliament, Louise Cameron MSYP, has urged all young people to ensure they use their vote in the forthcoming referendum and that, regardless of the result, the real achievement of the referendum has been the process of engagement.

 

The Scottish Youth Parliament has been working on a large scale young voter engagement project from January 2014.

 

Speaking ahead the referendum, Cameron, only voting for the second time after the European elections in May, spoke of the significant amount of positive work that had gone in to engaging young voters, and of the need to harness this post-referendum in order to ensure the current efforts to engage young people continue for future elections.

 

Speaking ahead of the referendum, she said:

 

“Through this referendum hundreds of thousands of young people across Scotland will participate in a historic moment of self-determination where we will have our say about the future of our country. I would urge every young person to make sure they participate in this pivotal moment in Scottish history by voting.

 

This is the first time that 16 and 17 year olds are able to vote in a Scottish election. We have a responsibility to show that we take this right very seriously so as to ensure it is extended to all future elections.

 

For the last two years, Scotland has been on the most amazing journey of political engagement and civic participation. As a young person, I have been absolutely astounded at the amount of effort that has gone in from schools, colleges and universities, youth groups and other civic and voluntary organisations and the campaigns, to try and remove barriers to participation and actively engage young people, particularly those young people who face more challenging circumstances. I am proud that the Scottish Youth Parliament led the way in developing innovative ideas and methods to engage thousands of young people, in an impartial manner, pointing them to sources of information to help them make an informed decision for themselves.

 

The process and the level of participation, combined with extraordinary efforts to engage young people, is the real achievement of this referendum. We have a once in a lifetime opportunity to build on what has been achieved through this process, to harness all of the positive young voter engagement work that has taken place over the last two years to ensure Scotland’s young people have their voices heard. We all have a responsibility, so let’s work together and make it happen.”

 

 

Notes

1. All media enquiries to Stephanie Brown, Communications Officer, 07753 410676/ 0131 524 0818, stephanie.b@syp.org.uk
2. The Scottish Youth Parliament is democratically elected voice of Scotland’s young people.

 

Research Finds Scotland’s Young Carers are Continually Facing Financial Hardship

Thursday, August 28th, 2014

Scottish Youth Parliament Press Office

Research Finds Scotland’s Young Carers are Continually Facing Financial Hardship

The Scottish Youth Parliament has published a research report exploring the challenging financial circumstances facing Scotland’s young carers, as well as the impact of caring responsibilities on their opportunities in education, social development, and emotional wellbeing.

The findings of the research report, ‘A Costly Youth: The impact of caring on young people in Scotland,’highlights concerning levels of anxiety and pressure. Many young people with caring responsibilities feel like their future opportunities and emotional wellbeing are compromised as a result of serious financial pressures. Financial concerns have been found to have a very direct and negative impact on the majority of respondents’ further and higher education experience.

Many of Scotland’s young people who have caring responsibilities are unable to access the same opportunities as their peers, and as a result of financial circumstances, are facing a standard of living crisis.

Speaking about the publication of the research, Louise Cameron, Chair of the Scottish Youth Parliament, said:

“I am delighted that the Scottish Youth Parliament has conducted and published this youth-led research that highlights the hardship and daily challenges Scotland’s young carers are facing.

“Although modest in scale, this research seeks to highlight serious gaps in information about young carers. I hope the findings of this report will prompt wider discussions with Government, local authorities, and the wider third sector about how we address these issues together.

“There is a significant lack of recognition and awareness of the challenges facing those with caring responsibilities. Specifically, more needs to be done to address the needs of Scotland’s young adult carers, whose struggles too often go unnoticed.”

Lauren King, a young carer and Member of the Scottish Youth Parliament for Motherwell and Wishaw, said:

“As a young carer myself, I have to balance caring, attending university, and doing part-time work to make ends meet. It is extremely difficult when your financial situation dictates that a part-time job must be your priority. Young carers like myself always have to compromise.

“These struggles are very often underestimated and the extent of their impact deserves much more visibility and recognition than is currently given. It is time that a real and lasting change is made to get a fairer deal for young carers.”

Louise Morgan from the Scottish Young Carers Services Alliance and Carers Trust said:

“We are delighted that the Scottish Youth Parliament conducted this research and we welcome the publication of this report.  Not only does it highlight the financial hardship which young carers face, but also demonstrates the cost in terms of compromising their education and development.

“Our Alliance of young carers services supports over 4,000 young carers.  We hope that bringing these issues to the fore will encourage decision makers to make better provision for young carers, so that they can make the best of their education and their lives outside of caring.”

You can find a copy of the full report and Executive Summary here.

Research Finds Scotland’s Young Carers are Continually Facing Financial Hardship

Thursday, August 28th, 2014

Scottish Youth Parliament Press Office

Research Finds Scotland’s Young Carers are Continually Facing Financial Hardship

 

Lauren and Ryan

The Scottish Youth Parliament has published a research report exploring the challenging financial circumstances facing Scotland’s young carers, as well as the impact of caring responsibilities on their opportunities in education, social development, and emotional wellbeing.

The findings of the research report, ‘A Costly Youth: The Impact of Caring on Young People in Scotland,’ highlights concerning levels of anxiety and pressure. Many young people with caring responsibilities feel like their future opportunities and emotional wellbeing are compromised as a result of serious financial pressures. Financial concerns have been found to have a very direct and negative impact on the majority of respondents’ further and higher education experience.

Many of Scotland’s young people who have caring responsibilities are unable to access the same opportunities as their peers, and as a result of financial circumstances, are facing a standard of living crisis.

Speaking about the publication of the research, Louise Cameron, Chair of the Scottish Youth Parliament, said:

“I am delighted that the Scottish Youth Parliament has conducted and published this youth-led research that highlights the hardship and daily challenges Scotland’s young carers are facing.

“Although modest in scale, this research seeks to highlight serious gaps in information about young carers. I hope the findings of this report will prompt wider discussions with Government, local authorities, and the wider third sector about how we address these issues together.

“There is a significant lack of recognition and awareness of the challenges facing those with caring responsibilities. Specifically, more needs to be done to address the needs of Scotland’s young adult carers, whose struggles too often go unnoticed.”

Lauren King, a young carer and Member of the Scottish Youth Parliament for Motherwell and Wishaw, said:

“As a young carer myself, I have to balance caring, attending university, and doing part-time work to make ends meet. It is extremely difficult when your financial situation dictates that a part-time job must be your priority. Young carers like myself always have to compromise.

“These struggles are very often underestimated and the extent of their impact deserves much more visibility and recognition than is currently given. It is time that a real and lasting change is made to get a fairer deal for young carers.”

Louise Morgan from the Scottish Young Carers Services Alliance and Carers Trust said:

“We are delighted that the Scottish Youth Parliament conducted this research and we welcome the publication of this report.  Not only does it highlight the financial hardship which young carers face, but also demonstrates the cost in terms of compromising their education and development.

“Our Alliance of young carers services supports over 4,000 young carers.  We hope that bringing these issues to the fore will encourage decision makers to make better provision for young carers, so that they can make the best of their education and their lives outside of caring.”