Archive for the ‘News’ Category

An open letter in support of the Organ and Tissue Donation (Scotland) Bill to Members of the Scottish Parliament – Louise Cameron MSYP

Wednesday, February 4th, 2015

Dear MSP,

Support for the Proposed Organ and Tissue Donation (Scotland) Bill

I am writing to you in your position as a Member of the Scottish Parliament in relation to the Proposed Organ and Tissue Donation (Scotland) Bill, sponsored by Anne McTaggart MSP, to make you aware of the Scottish Youth Parliament’s support for the Bill ahead of the deadline for signatures from MSPs on Thursday 5th February.

In 2010, the following motion as passed at our July National Sitting:

Following similar moves in Wales to tackle a severe shortage of organ donors, the system for organ donation should be changed to an opt-out system rather than an opt-in system.

This motion was voted on again in 2013 and 2014 by Members of the Scottish Youth Parliament (MSYPs) who voted in favour by an overwhelming majority. As I am sure you are aware, a fundamental role of an MSYP is to consult with young people in their area and represent their views during these debates at our national sittings.

Therefore, I can say with confidence that moving to a soft opt-out system for organ donation carries significant support from Scotland’s young people.

In addition, our Health and Wellbeing Subject Committee further considered the contents of the Bill to inform our response to the public consultation. The Committee came out in unanimous support of the Bill and its provisions.

There can be no doubt, especially considering the evidence from other European countries, that a soft opt-out system results in increased donor rates which, in turn, saves lives.

As the Chair of the Scottish Youth Parliament, I have a responsibility to communicate the views of young people to key decision makers in relation to important policy development, and in this capacity I would urge you to support this Bill by adding your signature before the deadline on Thursday 5th February 2015 at 16:30.
Yours sincerely,

 

Louise Cameron

 

 

 

 

Louise Cameron MSYP
Chair of the Scottish Youth Parliament

Youth Parliament Launch Campaign to Tackle Child and Youth Poverty

Friday, January 23rd, 2015

 Scottish Youth Parliament Press Office 

Youth Parliament Launch Campaign to Tackle Child and Youth Poverty

On Friday 23rd January 2015, the Scottish Youth Parliament launched its national campaign to help combat child and youth poverty. The campaign, POVERTY: See It Change It, was launched by Members of the Scottish Youth Parliament (MSYPs) at the Fuse Youth Café in Glasgow.

The 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.

Speaking about the launch of the campaign, Louise Cameron 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.”

“I believe it is time that we recognise the reality of poverty in Scotland, and make it our priority to work together to challenge the common misconceptions and negative stigmas it entails.

“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.”

Nairn McDonald MSYP put forward proposals for the campaign to the SYP Membership in October 2014. Speaking about the aims of the campaign, Nairn said:

“Our MSYPs voted to campaign on this issue because that is what the young people in their areas asked us to do. The young people of Scotland have told us that this is a major issue for them, and there must be change. As the democratically elected voice of Scotland’s young people, we have a responsibility to stand up and be the drivers of that change.

“For me, I grew up surrounded by poverty, and I have seen the devastating impact it can have on a young person’s future and their quality of life. I am delighted that POVERTY: See It Change It is the SYP’s campaign for 2015, and I hope that MSYPs can inspire young people all over Scotland to get involved and champion its aims.”

[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

 

Youth Parliament Chair encourages organisations to commit to the living wage

Monday, January 19th, 2015

 Scottish Youth Parliament Press Office

Youth Parliament Chair encourages organisations to commit to the living wage

The Scottish Youth Parliament has now been formally accredited by The Living Wage Foundation as a Living Wage Employer. The Scottish Youth Parliament has paid a living wage since its inception in 1999, but became formally accredited through the Scottish Living Wage Accreditation Initiative.

Through the “One Fair Wage” campaign, the Scottish Youth Parliament campaigned with other organisations to establish the scheme in Scotland.

The Poverty Alliance is working in partnership with the Living Wage Foundation to accredit Living Wage employers in Scotland.

The Living Wage is an hourly rate set independently and updated annually. The Living Wage is calculated according to the basic cost of living in the UK. Employers choose to pay the Living Wage on a voluntary basis.

Speaking about the importance of a living wage Louise Cameron, Chair of the Scottish Youth Parliament, said:

“I am delighted that the Scottish Youth Parliament has now been formally accredited as a Living Wage Employer. We have known for a long time that low wages is the key driver of in-work poverty.

“It is simply not fair for employees to be paid a wage below what is required for an acceptable standard of living. Employers must play their part in combating in-work poverty through the living wage, and I would encourage all employers to join this scheme.

“We will launch our national campaign later this week to raise awareness of the severity of youth poverty in Scotland. Currently, research shows 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.”

Peter Kelly, Director of the Poverty Alliance, said today:

“Congratulations to the Scottish Youth Parliament on joining the growing number of accredited living wage employers in Scotland.

“In work poverty has been on the rise in Scotland, with almost of two thirds of children in poverty living in a household where someone works.

“The Living Wage is one of the best tools for tackling in work poverty and ensuring a fair day’s pay for a fair day’s work.

“We are pleased to see the Scottish Youth Parliament recognise the role of employers in tackling poverty, and hope others will follow their example”.

Young Scots launch their campaigns to become Members of the Scottish Youth Parliament

Wednesday, January 14th, 2015

Young Scots launch their campaigns to become Members of the Scottish Youth Parliament

Throughout January young people will be launching their election manifestos as part of their campaigns to become Members of the Scottish Youth Parliament (MSYPs).

Over 850 young people, across every local authority, expressed an interest in standing as a candidate to represent the young people in their local area.

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

The Scottish Youth Parliament elections are taking place in March 2015. Young people will be able to cast their vote to elect their local MSYP between Monday 2nd March 2015 and Friday 13th March 2015.

Speaking about the 2015 SYP elections, Louise Cameron, Chair of the Scottish Youth Parliament said:

“I am delighted that so many young people have chosen to stand as candidates in the 2015 SYP Elections. Following the high levels of political engagement and voter turnout during last year’s referendum, it is fantastic to see so many young Scots committed to ensuring young people are at the forefront of shaping our society.”

“Once again, Scotland’s young people continue to prove that they are interested in being at the heart of the democratic process.

“Being a Member of the Scottish Youth Parliament is a truly life changing experience. I hope that everyone engages with the election campaigns taking place in their local area, and casts a vote in March for the candidate they would like to represent their views in the Scottish Youth Parliament.”

The Scottish Youth Parliament campaigns on the issues that matter most to Scotland’s young people, and MSYPs are drivers of positive change. Through her role as an MSYP for Motherwell and Wishaw, Lauren King led the 2014 national campaign, Care.Fair.Share., which sought to alleviate the financial pressures facing young carers.

Speaking about her experience as an MSYP, Lauren said:

“Being an MSYP has given me the opportunity to campaign on so many issues that matter to young people. As a young carer myself, our national campaign, Care.Fair.Share., was particularly close to my heart.

“I want to encourage everyone standing in the elections to make the most of this fantastic opportunity. Being an MSYP will change your life, and most importantly, it will give you the chance to change the lives of others too.

“I’ve been at the heart of campaigns which have helped to shape historic changes in our society, such as the lowering of the voting age, marriage equality, and the implementation of policies to help young carers facing financial hardship. I am so proud of all that I have been a part of as an MSYP, and I want to wish the very best of luck to those standing as candidates in the 2015 SYP elections.”

Former Chair of the Scottish Youth Parliament and Founder and Director of Dare2Lead, John Loughton, said:

“Becoming an MSYP is a fantastic way to make a difference in other people’s lives. Standing as a candidate is just the first step in the journey to affect change.

“I know from my own experience that it takes a lot of bravery to put yourself forward as a candidate. I hope the young people recognise that while this is a fantastic opportunity to affect change for other people, you will also gain a huge amount of experience personally, and will have the chance to work with some of Scotland’s most inspirational young people.

“As an MSYP, you are exposed to experiences you never otherwise get: from meeting our country’s leaders and decision makers, to getting involved in the very heart of local communities.

“I know how much the Youth Parliament can change your life, and I wish the 2015 candidates the very best of luck in their efforts to become MSYPs.”

Youth Parliament Chair welcomes electoral franchise announcement

Monday, December 15th, 2014

Scottish Youth Parliament Press Office

Youth Parliament Chair welcomes electoral franchise announcement

©DN Anderson

 

15th December 2014

 

The Chair of the Scottish Youth Parliament, Louise Cameron MSYP, has welcomed the expected announcement from the Prime Minister that powers to lower the voting age will be devolved to the Scottish Parliament in time for the next Holyrood elections in 2016.

The Prime Minister is expected to confirm the new powers when he meets with the First Minister of Scotland, Nicola Sturgeon MSP, later today.

The Scottish Youth Parliament has been leading the campaign to lower the voting age in Scotland for fifteen years.

Speaking about the announcement, Cameron, who issued a statement urging the Prime Minister to devolve the powers after the publication of the Smith Commission findings and who previously met with Lord Smith to encourage the electoral franchise to be part of the Smith Commission report, said:

“I am absolutely delighted that the powers to lower the voting age will be devolved to the Scottish Parliament in time for the next Holyrood elections in 2016. We worked hard with the Smith Commission to make a strong case for devolution of these powers, given our experience in Scotland.”

“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.”

“However, we cannot be complacent by simply assuming that these powers will mean that young people will be automatically engaged. A lot of work and effort went into engaging young people for the referendum, and this needs to continue. If we get this right, and we can build on a very successful process of engagement seen during the referendum, we have the opportunity to create a voter generation of active, passionate and engaged citizens.”

Youth Parliament Chair urges Prime Minister to devolve voting age powers to Scotland – @weezeontoast

Thursday, November 27th, 2014

Thursday 27th November 2014

 

©DN Anderson

The Chair of the Scottish Youth Parliament, Louise Cameron MSYP, has today urged the Prime Minister to accept that powers over electoral franchise should be devolved to the Scottish Parliament.

 

The Scottish Youth Parliament has been leading the campaign in Scotland to lower the voting age for over fifteen years.

 

Speaking after the Smith Commission published its Heads of Agreement, which included the recommendation to devolve electoral franchise powers to Scotland, Cameron said:

 

“We are delighted that the Smith Commission has recommended powers over the voting age to be devolved to the Scottish Parliament. Given the experience of the referendum, there is now widespread consensus among the public, the media and politicians that the voting age should be lowered to 16.”
“At the Scottish Youth Parliament, we have always known that young people are engaged, active and informed citizens, keen to play their part in creating a better Scotland.” 

 

“The referendum forced politicians, and other organisations to engage with young people more meaningfully, and at a scale never seen before. The Scottish experience of a lowered voting age has refuted many of the arguments made against it, and indeed a social attitudes research carried out by the University of Edinburgh also disproves many of these arguments.”

 

“With many powers over electoral administration already devolved to the Scottish Parliament, we believe devolving powers to lower the voting age is a logical and sensible next step which will make votes at 16 a reality in Scottish elections and continue the high levels of engagement with young people we experienced during the referendum.”

 

 

Notes to editor

  1. All media enquiries to Stephanie Brown, Communications Officer, 07753 410676/ 0131 524 0818, stephanie.b@syp.org.uk

Young people across Scotland develop creative solutions to violence as part of Scottish Youth Parliament Competition

Wednesday, November 12th, 2014

We-CTV National Production Day

David and Martyna 2

On Tuesday 11th November 2014, young people from across Scotland came together to focus on ways to reduce interpersonal violence through creativity as part of a national competition, run by the Scottish Youth Parliament.

The We-CTV competition, facilitated by the No Knives, Better Lives initiative, encourages young people aged 11-18 to think about the problems interpersonal violence causes in local communities, and provides them with an opportunity to create artwork, literature or multimedia content to educate their peers on issues such as knife crime, abuse or online bullying.

Experts in video production, writing and art as well as knife crime and violence reduction were in attendance at Hampden Stadium to offer advice and support to the shortlisted We-CTV competition entrants.

Speaking about the National Production Day, David Stewart, Member of the Scottish Youth Parliament and We-CTV Champion, said: “I am delighted to have witnessed such fantastic energy and enthusiasm today from young people across the country who have entered the Scottish Youth Parliament’s We-CTV competition.

“We-CTV provides an opportunity for young people to use their creative skills to promote anti-violence messages, and our National Production Day has helped to equip them with the experience and expertise to get the most out of the competition.”

“Through our consultation work, we know that young people are concerned about knife crime and interpersonal violence, and they value the importance of researching and promoting solutions. The young people across Scotland participating in the We-CTV competition want to make a difference in their local community, and shape discussions that can pave the way to a safer and fairer society.”

The groups who made it to the national stage of the We-CTV competition enjoyed the opportunity to meet with creative experts and those working to eradicate violence from Scotland’s streets.

Sulayman Tabassam, 14 and from Castlehead High School in Paisley, who won the competition in 2013 said: “The We-CTV competition production day is a really enjoyable experience for all of the young people who attend.

“The great thing about We-CTV is that young people take part in every aspect of creating their ideas and turning them into a professional video for our peers. From developing storyboards, filming and then editing the finished video it means that we have had a chance to increase our knowledge and creative skills.

“Throughout the day we also heard from a number of speakers including the police, medics, lawyers and even someone who had gone to prison because of knife crime. Listening to their stories and what they have faced due to interpersonal violence, we learned a lot about the dangers of carrying a knife and it really opened our eyes to the consequences it can have on our own future, as well as on family, friends and local community.”

Gerry Farrell, a freelance creative who attended the event to pass on his knowledge on video production said: “The Scottish Youth Parliament and No Knives, Better Lives deserve all the praise and encouragement they can get for building the We-CTV project from scratch and sustaining it for so many years.

“Our young people are the ones who have most to lose from being sucked into violence or gangs early in their lives. We-CTV works hard with just about every secondary school in Scotland to teach useful life lessons to these youngsters at the same time as equipping them with communication skillsets that will help them flourish in years to come.”

The groups participating in the competition will submit their final creative solutions by Friday 16th January 2015. The shortlisted submissions will then go to an online vote from Monday 26th January 2015 – Sunday 8th February 2015, where the public will be able to decide the winner of the We-CTV competition 2014/15.

Find out more at www.syp.org.uk

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.”