Archive for the ‘News’ Category

Youth Parliament launches biggest ever manifesto consultation

Tuesday, June 30th, 2015

 

 

 

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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, gareth.b@syp.org.uk

Scotland’s newly elected Youth Parliament calls on decision makers to tackle child poverty

Tuesday, June 23rd, 2015

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Newly elected young people from all over Scotland called on decision makers to combat poverty as they gathered in Renfrewshire for the Scottish Youth Parliament’s 57th National Sitting and AGM.

Nearly 160 Members of the Scottish Youth Parliament (MSYPs), who were elected in March 2015, attended the two day event, where they pledged to focus every effort on campaigning to combat poverty in Scotland by championing SYP’s national campaign, POVERTY: See It Change It.

The POVERTY: See It Change It campaign aims to: raise awareness among young people and wider society about child and youth poverty; combat popular negative stigmas and speak about the reality of poverty in Scotland; and, challenge elected leaders and key stakeholders to work together to end child poverty by 2020.

More than one in five of Scotland’s children are considered to be living in poverty. This is much higher than in many other European countries.[1]

In 1999, the UK Government made the commitment to tackle child poverty in the nation by 2020. The UK Child Poverty Act 2010 made this commitment into law. With only 5 years to go until 2020, the Scottish Youth Parliament hopes its campaign will send the message that now is the time to seriously act.

Since the campaign launched in January 2015, the previous membership of SYP has been hard at work raising the profile of the campaign, and gathering the views of children and young people across Scotland on poverty. This work has led to the creation of a word cloud graphic, which shows what children and young people across Scotland think about poverty and where they want to see change.

In autumn 2015, the Scottish Youth Parliament will publish research which explores how children and young people view poverty and what impact they believe it has. Almost 1,000 young people aged 11-25 were surveyed by SYP. Interim findings from the research show that young people are aware of the detrimental impact poverty has, and believe that tackling poverty should be a priority for the Scottish Government.

Ahead of the Scottish Parliamentary elections in 2016, Members of the Scottish Youth Parliament will be encouraging elected officials and parliamentary candidates to pledge their individual commitment to making tackling poverty in Scotland their priority.

Speaking about the progress of the campaign so far, Jordan Linden MSYP, Chair of the Scottish Youth Parliament, said:

“It is unacceptable that one in five of our children and young people in Scotland live in poverty. Many young people in Scotland are simply robbed of their childhood. They are robbed of the opportunity to use their passion and talents to create a better and more prosperous future for themselves.

“Now that the General Election has passed and the political parties in Scotland continue to prepare for the Scottish Parliamentary elections in 2016, the Scottish Youth Parliament will urge all elected representatives and parliamentary candidates to publicly pledge their commitment to combatting poverty in Scotland.

“Our campaign efforts so far have shown that Scotland’s young people want to see change. Young people have told us there is a need for improvement and support across a range of issues throughout Scotland, such as education, access to work experience and opportunities, fairness and equality, and paying a living wage. There can be no doubt that combatting poverty is something young people from every constituency across Scotland want to see be made a priority by every elected representative.

“This issue transcends party politics and goes to the very heart of who we are, and who we want to be as a nation. By working together, we can strive to ensure elected leaders uphold the commitment to tackle child poverty in Scotland and the UK by the year 2020. With five years to go, now is the time to seriously act.”

[1] Barnardo’s UK. What Causes Child Poverty? http://www.barnardos.org.uk/what_we_do/our_work/ child_poverty/child_poverty_what_is_poverty/what_causes_child_poverty.htm

 

SYP Chair welcomes the Scottish Parliament’s passing of the Scottish Elections (Reduction of Voting Age) Bill

Friday, June 19th, 2015

Scottish Youth Parliament Press Office

Jordan Linden Chair

Jordan Linden MSYP, Chair of the Scottish Youth Parliament welcomes the Scottish Parliament’s passing of the Scottish Elections (Reduction of Voting Age) Bill.

Jordan said:

“I am absolutely delighted that MSPs have unanimously supported lowering the voting age to 16 in time for the next Scottish Parliament elections through the Scottish Elections (Reduction of Voting Age) Bill. I believe this will have a hugely positive impact on the overall levels of engagement.

“The young people of Scotland proved, through their engagement in the referendum process, that they take their right to vote very seriously, and they have collectively dispelled all of the myths and arguments against a lowered voting age.

“I’m proud that young people’s enthusiasm and passion has been recognised, and that as a nation, we acknowledge that we should be encouraging young people to engage with politics and shape their own future by using their right to participate in democracy.

“As a result of this bill, more young people will get involved in the political system, and from an earlier age. Votes at 16 will help us truly harness young people’s enthusiasm for politics. We can strive to create a voter generation because we will be able to engage people younger, and keep them engaged throughout their lives, we hope, in the political system.

“As the democratically elected voice of Scotland’s young people, the Scottish Youth Parliament has always known that 16-and 17-year-olds are capable of making informed decisions when it comes to voting, and we have been campaigning for Votes at 16 since the start of our organisation in 1999. I hope that the passing of the Scottish Elections (Reduction of Voting Age) Bill will lead the way in encouraging votes at 16 in all UK elections and referendums.”

Scottish Youth Parliament elects new young leaders

Wednesday, June 17th, 2015

Scottish Youth Parliament Press Office 

Scottish Youth Parliament elects new young leaders

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Elected young people gathered in Renfrewshire last weekend for the first National Sitting of the Scottish Youth Parliament’s new membership, where the new young leaders of the organisation were elected.

On Sunday 14th June 2015, Jordan Linden, MSYP for Uddingston and Bellshill, was elected as the Chair of the Scottish Youth Parliament (SYP) at the SYP’s 57th Annual Sitting and Annual General Meeting in Renfrewshire.

Katie Burke, MSYP for North East Fife, was elected as the Vice Chair of the SYP, and the Membership also elected four new Trustees: Amy Lee Frioli MSYP for Rutherglen, Thomas Mair MSYP for Coatbridge and Chryston, Ewan McCall MSYP for Kilmarnock and Irvine Valley, and Robbie Nicoll MSYP for Angus North and Mearns.

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.

At the Sitting, Members of the Scottish Youth Parliament elected the new Board of Trustees and Committee Conveners, who will lead the SYP over the next year. As a youth-led organisation, the AGM is a hugely significant occasion which forms the foundation of the SYP’s core values and structure, truly empowering Scotland’s young people.

Jordan Linden MSYP, Chair of the Scottish Youth Parliament, said: “It is the privilege of my life to have been elected as the Chair of the Scottish Youth Parliament. I would like to congratulate everyone who stood for election at our AGM this weekend. We have a fantastic and vibrant membership. It is a privilege to work with such inspiring colleagues who are all committed to making the voices of Scotland’s young people heard.

“We have very exciting times ahead of us and lots of hard work. I look forward to working with my fellow MSYPs to build on the organisation’s success, and lead the way towards a fairer, more equal Scotland for all.”

Closing Speech to SYP57 – Louise Cameron MSYP, Chair of the Scottish Youth Parliament

Saturday, June 13th, 2015

 

 

 

Good afternoon everyone,

What a jam packed day it’s been here today!

I really hope it has given you all a taste of the two years ahead and that you are excited about getting stuck into all of the amazing opportunities that await you to make a real difference for Scotland’s young people.

I would like to use my last speech as Chair to reflect on what SYP and being an MSYP really means, and reflect on my last four years as an MSYP, and two years as Vice Chair and Chair.

It pretty simple really, but in its simplicity lies the reason why our organisation, and your role within it are so special.

It’s about you… it is a little about politics, but it really is mostly about you. And not just you, everyone in this room. Together.

We always say here that you get out of SYP what you put into it, and it couldn’t be more true.

Our organisation, and your role as an MSYP, will be what you make it. The harder you work individually and collectively, the more opportunities arise, and more you learn, develop and succeed.

It is not just about the work though, it is also about the amazing memories you make along the way. The best thing to do is throw yourself in at the deep end and take every opportunity that comes your way.

We have a fantastic team who will support you every step of the way throughout your time as an MSYP and your fellow members are a fantastic support network.

You will make friends here that might become some of your closest friends. I think it is so special to be able to meet so many other people who have the same passion and motivations as you and it really inspires you to go and do even more when you see just what can be achieved, sometimes against all the odds, when you work as a group.

SYP changes you as a person. It allows you the space to grow, be comfortable with who you are and get to know yourself.

SYP provides you an opportunity to shape our country for years to come; to make the lives, prospects and future destinations of our young people the best they can be.

We are the voice for all young people in Scotland. You have all been elected into this role by young people who believe in you. They believe that you are the ones who can help push for what is needed and can meaningfully represent them.

It is important that you take on this duty understanding the faith that has been put in you. With all the wonderful opportunities, experiences and fun that come with the Scottish Youth Parliament, you have a responsibility to do your best by those who have elected you.

There will be challenges and obstacles along the way but the feeling of success when you achieve something which genuinely makes a difference to the lives of other young people is the most rewarding feeling.

Be resilient! When things aren’t easy, do your best! That is all anyone can ask. Our staff team and your support workers are always there to be support you during these times.

I want to take a moment to talk about two very important values we have here at SYP. Respect and Equality. These values underpin everything we do.

We value the input and contributions from all our MSYPs, the other young people with whom we will engage with, our staff team, our support workers. Everyone has unique talents, their own experiences and background. We want to harness that diversity.

As a fundamentally rights based organisation, we have a duty to promote the wellbeing of all our young people, ensuring that our youth parliament truly is a safe space where everyone is valued and encouraged to fulfil their potential.

Respect and equality are our first and founding principles. They prevail over all else, and we must work together to ensure that remains the case.

That doesn’t mean that you are not entitled to have your own views, or disagree with other people, or even challenge the organisation to do more. In fact, it’s the opposite. These things are vital for the health of any democracy and any democratic organisation.

However, the whole point of democracy is that everyone is entitled to respectfully communicate their views, and on an equal basis. Make your contributions constructive and positive.

If respect and equality are not values that your share with the same strength as we do, then I am afraid that this is not the organisation for you.

Looking to the future, the manifesto will be a huge challenge for you all to prove what this membership is made of. I can’t wait to see you smash the previous number of responses.

You are one of the few and lucky memberships that will have the opportunity to shape and launch a youth manifesto. “Lead the way”, which you heard about earlier today, is the defining piece of work for our organisation for the next five years. It will fundamentally shape our successes and work we do over that period.

Our credibility and success as an organisation depend on how well we engage with young people. The number of responses from young people we can get to this manifesto consultation, the more credibility we have to ensure decision makers listen to us.

My challenge to you is to make “Lead the way” your priority until the next Sitting and get as many responses as you possibly can.

I would like to say what an honour it has been to serve as Chair, Vice Chair, Convener and MSYP over the last four years.

This organisation has been, and will continue to be, a huge and special part of my life and although this year has probably been the hardest year of my life, and there were times I thought I was losing my sanity, it really has been the most amazing experience and I have loved it.

I have been fortunate enough to preside as Chair whilst our organisation has achieved some of the most amazing things; making substantial changes to improve the lives of young carers; ensuring votes at 16 was included in the Smith Commission Agreement and will now be a reality for the Scottish Parliament elections; launching our first major piece of research; growing our media and social media profile significantly; getting the most number of votes ever cast in an SYP national election.

It truly has been amazing, and I am so grateful to have been able to be a part of it.

This organisation truly allows young people to have their say and get the opportunity to speak honestly and passionately about what they believe in. I could not think of anything more valuable than giving people a voice and that is what we do.

I would like to say a huge thank you to everyone who has trusted me to lead as Chair, supported me to get things done and believed in me to represent Scotland’s young people.

Thank you to my wonderful board – Nairn, David, Rachael and Terri. You have all been a joy to work with, and have worked incredibly hard!

To my fantastic staff team, I am so proud to have each and every one of you working for SYP and you are all amazing at the jobs you do. You all work day in day out giving 110% and you really are the best staff team in the world.

I would also like to mention Hamira who, although has now left us, was a huge support and inspiration to me throughout my time as Chair. Hamira was an incredible Chief Executive and really made the organisation what it is now. If it wasn’t for her, SYP wouldn’t be nearly as successful as it is. I can’t wait for everyone to meet Ben, our new Chief Executive, and I am excited for the new direction and inspiration he will bring to the organisation.

The most important thing you can realise and understand during your time in the organisation is why you are doing it all.

You should all write on a piece of paper when you go home tomorrow about why you joined SYP and, whenever things seem tough, go and read it and it will remind you why you try so hard, and why it is worth it.

Most of the people in this room will be here trying to make life better for other people, and what an incredible and inspiring reason that is to be here.

Whenever you feel like something seems impossible, it’s not. Just tell yourself – I can make it happen – and you will.

With enough determination, a membership is a force to be reckoned with, and I believe that you will bring our wonderful organisation onto bigger and better things.

Together, and only together, we will continue to change our communities, regions and our country, giving young people everywhere a voice and keeping Scotland a place where young people’s views are valued and heard.

Thank you.

Newly elected youth parliament descends on Renfrewshire

Thursday, June 11th, 2015

Newly elected youth parliament descends on Renfrewshire

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This weekend, the Scottish Youth Parliament (SYP) will host its 57th Annual Sitting and Annual General Meeting in Renfrewshire.

Elected young people from all over Scotland will gather at Park Mains High School for what will be their first national Sitting as the newly elected membership of the Scottish Youth Parliament, following the recent SYP national elections which took place in March 2015, where a record number of votes were cast.

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 elect the new Board of Trustees and Committee Conveners, who will then lead the organisation over the next year. As a youth-led organisation, the AGM is a hugely significant occasion which forms the foundation of the SYP’s core values and structure, truly empowering Scotland’s young people.

Louise Cameron MSYP is the current Chair of the Scottish Youth Parliament. Following four years as an MSYP, Louise chose not to re-stand for election in 2015. Speaking ahead of the first Sitting of the 2015 membership, Louise said:

“I’m delighted that SYP will be in Renfrewshire for its 2015 AGM. This Sitting is one of the most important as we not only continue our important debates, training, and activities, but we elect our new Board of Trustees and Committee Conveners. As SYP is a youth-led organisation, these are the young people who will lead SYP for the next year.

“It has been so special being the Chair of such an outstanding organisation throughout such a momentous time in Scotland’s history. SYP has changed my life for the better, and I have gained so much from being a part of it, as well as feeling like I have made a positive difference for Scotland’s young people.

“Being an MSYP is a truly life-changing experience, and I would like to encourage the new membership to embrace every opportunity during their term. I am confident the new MSYPs will continue to build on the organisation’s success, and lead the way towards a fairer, more equal Scotland for young people.”

Renfrewshire Council Leader Mark Macmillan said: “Renfrewshire is pleased to be hosting the first National Sitting for the newly-elected MSYPs and I am sure the MSYPs are eager to get started on their first campaign – POVERTY: See It Change It.

“Tackling poverty is one of this council’s top priorities. We initiated the Renfrewshire Tackling Poverty Commission – the first of its kind in Scotland – because we wanted a fresh and independent approach to how we can break the poverty cycle. The Commission left a legacy of recommendations. Our ring-fenced poverty fund of £6m will help to deliver these and we’re finalising ambitious plans that will be implemented in coming months. I firmly believe this will make a real difference.

“I welcome tackling poverty being the focus of the Youth Parliament and look forward to working with our MSYPs on this issue – which is absolutely crucial to the life chances of future generations.”

Mark Dougan, MSYP-elect for Renfrewshire North West, said: “I’m really looking forward to the National Sitting and it is even more special because it takes place in my home town.

“Our next big campaign is POVERTY: See It Change It and I know this is one thing that many young people are concerned about. With one in five young people living in poverty in Scotland, I am hoping that we can get decision makers to listen to us and make a difference so no one has to live like that.”

Young people’s voices should be heard in the EU Referendum – @weezeontoast

Tuesday, May 26th, 2015

Young people’s voices should be heard in the EU Referendum

Ahead of the introduction of the EU Referendum Bill to the UK Parliament, Louise Cameron MSYP, Chair of the Scottish Youth Parliament, has urged the UK Government to extend the franchise to 16- and 17-year-olds. Louise said:

“The decision about whether the United Kingdom remains a part of the European Union or votes to leave, is a hugely important decision that 16- and 17-year-olds must be a part of.

“This is a decision that will affect our future. As a nation, we need a fair and accessible debate about the future of our EU membership, and we cannot possibly achieve that by excluding the voices of our country’s 16- and 17-year-olds.

“No longer can we continue to deny young people a voice and exclude them from shaping debates on so many issues that affect their lives. Young people are the future our country, and they are also here working hard, paying tax, starting families, and living their lives now – they deserve to have their say about their future, and not have it decided for them.

“The young people of Scotland proved, through their engagement in the referendum process, that they take their right to vote very seriously, and they have collectively crushed all of the myths and arguments against a lowered voting age.

“We know young people are engaged and enthusiastic about participating in democracy. We should be proud of this. We should be encouraging young people to have their say and shape their own futures. We should be focusing on engaging young people in politics and harnessing their enthusiasm, not sending messages that suggest their voices do not matter.

“As the democratically elected voice of Scotland’s young people, the Scottish Youth Parliament has always known that 16-and 17-year-olds are capable of making informed decisions when it comes to voting, and we have been campaigning for Votes at 16 since the start of our organisation in 1999. We are delighted that the voting age will be lowered to 16 in time for the next Scottish Parliament elections, and we believe this will have a very positive impact on the overall levels of engagement. While fantastic progress has been made, we will continue to campaign for Votes at 16 in all elections.”

The Scottish Youth Parliament appoints new Chief Executive

Monday, May 11th, 2015

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The Scottish Youth Parliament appoints new Chief Executive

The Scottish Youth Parliament has appointed Ben McKendrick as its Chief Executive. Ben joins SYP from Myeloma UK, and will take up post at our Edinburgh Office in July.

Speaking about the appointment, Louise Cameron MSYP, Chair of the Scottish Youth Parliament, said:

“I am delighted to announce that we have appointed Ben McKendrick as the new Chief Executive of the Scottish Youth Parliament.

“The process to appoint a successor to Hamira Khan attracted some high quality candidates, and in Ben McKendrick we have a Chief Executive who brings a wealth of experience, insight and enthusiasm.

“I have no doubt that Ben will take the organisation forward with commitment and passion, building on Hamira’s great work over the past five years. I’d like to take this opportunity to thank Hamira for her fantastic work during her time at SYP, and her dedication to empowering Scotland’s young people.

“I am very much looking forward to welcoming Ben to SYP, and I am confident we can expect great and exciting things from the organisation under Ben’s guidance and leadership.”

Our votes will decide the next UK Government – @weezeontoast

Wednesday, May 6th, 2015

Louise Cameron MSYP, Chair of the Scottish Youth Parliament

Young people could decide the next UK Government. It’s that simple. We have a huge opportunity to ensure that the issues that are important to us take centre stage with only one day left before the General Election.

The referendum in Scotland sparked a renewed interest in politics and democratic processes among young people. More than ever before, politicians had to go the extra mile to engage young people about the issues that matter most to them. The General Election should be no different.

At the Scottish Youth Parliament, we champion the importance of civic and political participation. We passionately believe that young people should be participants in democratic processes, and that elected representatives have a duty to listen to our views given that many of their decisions will directly affect our lives. We go out into communities and talk to young people about why it’s important to vote, and why our votes matter. Traditionally, we have always said that it doesn’t matter what the election is, it is important to vote no matter what. However, I cannot help but see the unique opportunity presented to us in this election.

A recent poll conducted by YouGov suggests that 68% of young voters between the ages of 18-24 will definitely vote. In addition, a further poll conducted by YouGov earlier in March commissioned by the British Youth Council showed that as many as two out of three young people were undecided about where their vote will go. This provides us with an opportunity to define the election campaign. As a group of voters, our views and choices matter in this election.

With the polls showing that the outcome of the election is too close to call, and with the likelihood of a hung parliament increasing by the day, there is a massive opportunity for young people in Scotland, and across the rest of the UK, to push the parties on the issues that matter most to us.

By the end of the next parliament, many of us will be seeking our first job, buying our first house, starting a family etc. It’s important that we recognise the impact our votes can have on many of these issues over the next five years. We should push the candidates in our areas to outline their plans for improving employment opportunities, for creating more apprenticeships, for eradicating child and youth poverty, for providing more affordable housing, for increasing wages, for advancing and protecting human rights. These are the issues that matter to me. But what matters to you?

Whatever matters to you, you as a young voter have the opportunity to get the answers you need to decide who you should vote for in this election. Make no mistake about it, the candidates need your vote. Your vote and your voice matters.

With one day still left, I would really urge the young people in Scotland and across the rest of the UK to grasp this election by the scruff of its neck, and ensure it delivers better outcomes for you, and the other young people in your area.

Most importantly of all, no matter your views, or what issues are important to you, make sure you vote on 7th May.

70,000 votes cast in Scottish Youth Parliament National Elections

Tuesday, April 21st, 2015

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Nearly 70,000 young people from all over Scotland have voted to elect their local Members of the Scottish Youth Parliament (MSYPs) in the 2015 Scottish Youth Parliament national elections.

Following almost three months of campaigning from young candidates across Scotland, young people aged 12-25 were asked to cast their vote to elect their local MSYP. Young people were able to cast their vote by submitting a paper ballot or using the secure e-Voting platform facilitated by Young Scot, depending on the method chosen by their local authority.

The elections were open for two weeks and held between Monday 2nd and Friday 13th March 2015. The results were announced at a series of events held by individual local authorities between Friday 13th March and Wednesday 25th March 2015, where many of the local authority Chief Executives acted as Returning Officers.

A full list of the newly elected Members of the Scottish Youth Parliament can be found www.syp.org.uk/elections. The newly elected MSYPs will take up office at the Scottish Youth Parliament’s National Sitting in June 2015.

The Scottish Youth Parliament is the democratically elected voice of Scotland’s young people. It provides a national platform for young people to discuss issues important to them and affect the change they wish to see.

Speaking after the 2015 SYP election results, Louise Cameron MSYP, Chair of the Scottish Youth Parliament, said:

“I’m delighted to announce that a record turnout of 70,000 young people made their voices heard by casting their vote in the Scottish Youth Parliament’s 2015 national elections.

“Over the past few months, we’ve witnessed fantastic campaigning taking place all over the country, with passionate debates and hustings inspiring Scotland’s young people to get involved in the democratic process by voting in the Scottish Youth Parliament elections. It has been a truly extraordinary journey, and the success of the elections is a real testament to the commitment and enthusiasm of young people to further their involvement in political decision making and ensure their voices are at the forefront of shaping society. I’d like to congratulate all of the candidates, and wish the best of luck to the newly elected MSYPs.

“Through our work at the Scottish Youth Parliament, we know that young people engage with and are interested in issue-based politics. Young people want to have their say about the issues that affect their lives, but often the focus on negative party politics is off-putting for young people and leads to disengagement.

“For me, engaging young voters is a priority that transcends party politics, and I hope the success of the Scottish Youth Parliament elections will help to encourage politicians to put the party politics to one side and harness young people’s enthusiasm for politics by focusing on the issues and discussions that matter to them.”