Archive for the ‘News’ Category

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.”

Youth organisations launch dedicated young voter week

Saturday, August 16th, 2014

RSV  logoScottish Youth Parliament Press Office 

Youth organisations launch dedicated young voter week

A group of organisations who work with young people in Scotland has launched a week of action devoted to encouraging young people to register to vote for the referendum on Scotland’s constitutional future. Every day throughout the week will be dedicated to ensuring Scotland’s young people are empowered and ready to have their say.

The group, convened by the Scottish Youth Parliament in January 2014, includes a range of organisations which have adopted a neutral stance on the referendum, across the voluntary, youth work and educational sectors, as well as both campaigns and the Electoral Commission. The aim of the group was to consider ways to encourage collaboration and joint working in relation to young voter engagement and registration in advance of the referendum.

Ready, Steady, Vote Week, a product of the group, is a dedicated week, primarily co-ordinated through online, digital media and social media, to raise awareness about the importance of voting with young people.

Speaking ahead of the launch of Ready, Steady, Vote Week on Saturday, Louise Cameron MSYP, Chair of the Scottish Youth Parliament said:

“I feel that it is very important that young people use their right to vote. It is important that we have our say about issues that affect us as young people, especially in such a major decision like the future of our country. The point of Ready, Steady, Vote Week is to raise awareness of the importance of voting with young people, and to point them to sources of impartial information about voter registration and other issues so as they can make an informed decision for themselves.”

Also speaking ahead of the launch, Gordon Maloney, President of the National Union of Students in Scotland said:

“Over the past two years, we’ve seen amazing work from students’ associations across Scotland in helping facilitate discussion and debate among their members over how education, housing and other issues will be effected by the outcome of the referendum vote.

“Ready, Steady, Vote week will mark the beginning of a final push to get students and young people registered to vote in Scotland. With two weeks to go before the September 2 registration deadline, it’s more important than ever that we ensure that students and young people are able to take part in the most important decision faced by Scotland in the past 300 years.

“By asking students and young people to encourage their friends to register,  NUS Scotland, SYP and other participating organisations in Ready, Steady, Vote Week will help allow all sides of the debate, and Scotland as a whole, to know the impact of students and young people in determining Scotland’s future.”

Youth Democracy Elects New Young Leaders

Wednesday, July 9th, 2014

Scottish Youth Parliament Press Office

Youth Democracy Elects New Young Leaders

On Sunday 6th July 2014, Louise Cameron MSYP was elected as the Chair of the Scottish Youth Parliament (SYP) at the SYP’s 54th Annual Sitting and AGM in Lerwick Town Hall, Lerwick, Shetland Islands.

Terri Smith MSYP was elected as the Vice Chair of the SYP, and the Membership also elected four new Trustees: Sian Hughes MSYP, David McLaughlin MSYP, Rachael McCully MSYP, and David Stewart MSYP.

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.

Speaking after the Sitting, the newly elected Chair of the Scottish Youth Parliament, Louise Cameron MSYP said:

“It is such an honour to have been elected as the new Chair of the Scottish Youth Parliament, especially in this exciting year in Scottish history. Whatever the outcome of the referendum, there will continue to be tremendous opportunities available for young people to influence politics and shape the future of our country.”

“I am excited and optimistic that with my leadership, and the support of our strong membership, we can grasp the attention of politicians and truly have a say over the politics affecting us as young people.”

Also speaking after the Sitting, Terri Smith MSYP, Vice Chair of the Scottish Youth Parliament said:

“It is a privilege to have been elected as the Vice Chair of the Scottish Youth Parliament, an organisation that has given me so much, and it is a real honour to further represent MSYPs and the young people of Scotland.”

“It’s going to be an exciting year ahead for Scotland’s young people, and as Vice Chair of SYP, I want to ensure young people can embrace the many opportunities for their voices to be heard. I believe it is important that young people have a platform to get involved and have their say about issues which are important to them.”

“I am proud to be part of an organisation which is committed to empowering young people, ensuring their voices are heard by the decision makers of Scotland.”

Louise Cameron MSYP, Chair of the Scottish Youth Parliament

Louise Cameron MSYP, Chair of the Scottish Youth Parliament

Terri Smith MSYP, Vice Chair of the Scottish Youth Parliament

Terri Smith MSYP, Vice Chair of the Scottish Youth Parliament

Closing and Final Speech to #SYP54 – Kyle Thornton MSYP, Chair of the Scottish Youth Parliament

Saturday, July 5th, 2014

MSYPs, Ladies and Gentlemen,

 

It is now time for me to make my last speech to SYP since I first stood for election 5 years ago and while I’m sad to be leaving, I’m also proud and optimistic because I’m really glad to say the SYP I stood for election to as a 14 year old is not the SYP that I’ve led over the past year as Chair.

 

We’re better, so much better than then. We now have a much stronger mandate to represent young people with 2011′s elections gaining over 63,000 votes and there now being a representative from every part of Scotland.

 

Today, we achieve real change for Scotland’s young people with this year seeing the achievement of real progress for young carers, the introduction of Votes at 16 for the referendum and of course, the introduction of same-sex marriage in Scotland. If I’m honest, it’s probably that last, and I think greatest achievement, so far, that I’ll be most proud of from my time as an MSYP.

 

What that campaign showed me i©DN Andersons that for young people, there is no great divide between us. We believe in fairness and freedom as a generation, that campaign showed that we weren’t afraid to get out there and to stand up, as young people, for what we believe is right. On a personal note, and on behalf of those young people, myself included, who thanks to the hard work and campaigning of this membership and the one before can now enjoy the same rights to marry regardless of sexuality, can I say thank you and I hope you all can take a little bit of pride in knowing that you have made a real difference for a lot of young people.

 

This September, our ability to make a real difference for young people will also be on display when thanks to our hard campaigning work, we helped ensure 16 and 17 year olds will get a say on the future of their nation. And if I can ask you one favour, after the referendum, it’s this – when young people have turned out in their thousands for the referendum and have cast the most important ballot of the next 30 years, ask your Parliamentarians why exactly some of your constituents got to vote on the future of their country but can’t vote to decide their MP, MSP or Councillor. Whatever the result of the referendum, the campaign for Votes at 16 will face a now or never opportunity to secure Votes at 16 for generations to come, let’s make sure SYP is at the forefront of clinching that final, lasting victory on the voting age.

 

And this year’s campaign, Care.Fair. Share., exemplifies the idea that young people have a real calling towards fairness and social justice. Most of us in this room aren’t young carers but we’ve spent the last six months up and down the country, shouting loud to make sure young carers get the fair treatment they deserve and I know, from talking to young carers, that they appreciate that their Youth Parliament is 100% right behind them and the invaluable role they play in society. And for the last time, can I once again embarrass Lauren King MSYP, our campaign lead. Lauren is a SYP success story. She’s taken an issue which was on the fringes of our debates, brought to her by her local young carers group, presented it to us, presented it to Parliament and she now leads a National Campaign all about fairness for young carers. Lauren, thank you for your work as our campaign lead, you’ve done a fantastic job and I know everyone in this room is incredibly proud to have you as our campaign lead.

 

As I look around this room, I also see a growing SYP success story. When I first stood 5 years ago, we used to get accusations of being a “middle class talking shop” thrown at us regularly. We’re now more representative that ever before. From the boy fae Govan as Chair to a membership more reflective of Scotland, no-one now says that about us – but we can’t rest because we always need to be doing our best to be more representative. If there’s one area that we need to work on, it’s ensuring we continue to grow the number of young women in our organisation but I don’t think that happens by quotas, by selecting people because of their gender. SYP needs to keep making the case to women across the country to get involved and then when they’re here, to stand to lead our organisation.

We’ve had a fantastic year. It has been my privilege to lead SYP through it and as I said at the start, I leave proud and optimistic. We’ve taken the challenge of the referendum by the horns and used it as an opportunity to reach out to others in our sector and to young people who we’ve never reached before to urge them to register to vote and cast their vote. We’re now seen as the sector leader on Young Voter Engagement and we’ve got a real opportunity, post-referendum, to continue to build our Youth Engagement and our reputation for high quality, youth-led engagement reaching out to more and more young people, letting them know we’re here for them and encouraging them to use us as their voice.LM_SYP_012

 

I’m also really proud of our SYPeers programme which sees young people, who aren’t MSYPs but who are passionate about democracy and our work, receive training to go out across Scotland and deliver sessions and engage with young people. It sums up the change in SYP we’ve made over the last couple of years. SYP is no longer just a members club, where all our focus goes solely on MSYPs, but we reach out to all young people, with programmes and opportunities, youth engagement and education events. That’s what a Parliament is all about, not looking in but reaching out and SYP is always at its best when we reach out and involve as many young people as we can in our work.

 

Jamie and his team have also been working hard to ensure that we reach the “hard to reach” young people in Scotland. We’ve been working with a range of partners to make it happen from young prisoners to looked after young people to young carers. We’ve been making sure your background isn’t a barrier to participating in SYP.

 

While SYP is bringing back Youth Work in a big way to our work centrally, we’re seeing a real challenge to youth work by our Local Authorities. When I lost my first SYP Election, it was Jo, my Youth Worker at the time who kept me involved in the whole thing. She refused to let me just drop off or do other things and I can’t thank her enough for what she did for me. I wouldn’t be here today if it wasn’t for Jo and I know many of you will have similar Youth Workers, who have made that difference to your life. SYP needs to start telling its Youth Work stories because if we don’t, we risk letting youth work disappear in some places. In my own authority, it hangs on by a thread because of determined people, who need our support. Tomorrow’s young people will thank us for making the case now for strong youth work services. Could I please take this opportunity to ask you all to show your appreciation to your Support Workers for the work that they do with you on an ongoing basis, and for all the work involved in bringing us to Shetland this weekend.

 

This year we’ve also had a range of internal reforms, some of which I’ll be putting forward to a vote tomorrow. I think it is mark of maturity that we are able to look at ourselves and our structures with a critical eye, and make positive changes based on the views of our Membership.

 

Our staff team is now bigger and better and I think it shows. We’re quickly gaining a reputation for being an efficient, well run and passionate organisation. Our staff team love what we do, they embrace their role in supporting young people to take the lead in our organisation and we owe them a real debt for what they do to enable us to represent Scotland’s young people.

 

It has been my pleasure to lead an organisation with such a fantastic team within it and I want to pay special tribute to our Chief Executive, Hamira. You don’t quite appreciate just how much she does for us until you become “the boss”. I’ve never met someone so hard working, dynamic, creative and passionate about us. She’s first in in the morning and last out at night and really does put 110% into SYP, making sure we have a well run staff team and that our organisation is working well. On behalf of the board, and the membership, thank you very much.

 

My last thanks as Chair hasLM_SYP_074 to go to all of you, our members. We wouldn’t be a here today if it wasn’t for you all working in your local areas, promoting our campaigns and being passionate about SYP. As much as I said that we must be for all of Scotland’s young people, it is MSYPs who are the beating heart of our organisation. You take the big decisions, you lead the organisation and you make the case so well for why we need more young people in public life in Scotland. Thank you to all of you for being out in your communities, talking and listening to young people and campaigning for a better deal for young people.

 

And so as I draw my remarks to a close, I can only reflect on what has been a life changing experience for me. Where I’m from in Glasgow is better known for its negatives than its positives. SYP has changed my life and given me opportunities that I could never have dreamed of. From speaking in the House of Commons from the Despatch Box to addressing Commonwealth Parliamentarians in Cardiff to speaking in our very own Parliament and being able to meet so many different people from so many walks of life. When I first stood for election, I was a shier, less confident person than today and I owe so much to this organisation which has really transformed my life, making me a better person, able to take on what life throws my way.

 

But more than what SYP has given to me is what it has enabled me to do for the young people that I represent in the Southside of Glasgow. I’ve had the opportunities to fight for the things that matter to them, to protect local youth services and to raise the issues that affect them every day here at SYP and beyond. I make a point of always making it be known that I represent Glasgow Southside because I’m really proud of where I’m from and the young people that I represent and when I stand down tomorrow as their MSYP, I’m happy to say I’ve done my bit to make our little bit of Glasgow that bit better.

 

SYP has been my second family for the last three years since being elected. I’ve had the immense privilege of being your Vice Chair and Chair. I hope that I’ve helped make our organisation the best it can be, with the capacity and vision to develop even more, because Scotland’s young people really need us, more than ever, to be fighting their corner.

 

SYP is an independent voice, willing to stand up for what young people tell us is the right thing. We’re democratic, inclusive, independent and passionate. Our core values make us what we are and we should never lose sight of them.

 

Tomorrow you will elect a new board and a new Chair who I know will take SYP to even better places. Lots of candidates love to talk about change but do you know what, I think that’s a bit of a faulty use of words. I think SYP can be improved, absolutely, but what we have works actually quite well, so before you say change, change, change, let’s appreciate the fantastic organisation we have now and look at how we can improve it and make it better for the future.

 

Be proud to be here and be proud of what you’re doing for young people who otherwise would have no voice at all.

 

It has been an honour and privilege to be your Chair this past year and if I can ever be of help, please don’t hesitate to call.

 

So Thank You and Goodbye.

Lauren King MSYP, Lead Campaigner, #CareFairShare Update Speech to #SYP54

Saturday, July 5th, 2014

Hello everyone!

 

I hope you all had a great time on the ferry and are enjoying the Sitting so far. It is great to see all of you, and hear about all the great work you have been doing.

 

I’m Lauren King, Lead Campaigner for Care.Fair.Share.

 

I am so proud of all that the campaign has done so far. Since the beginning of the campaign, we have changed the guidance for the administration of EMA to ensure that schools and local authorities know that young carers should be given flexibility in attendance due to their caring responsibilities. This will make a big difference for young carers who are trying to balance caring with school and studying.LM_SYP_015

 

Recently, myself and Kyle met with Aileen Campbell MSP, the Minister for Children and Young People, to discuss the campaign and ask for further meetings to discuss the campaign aims, and the changes we want to see for young carers.

 

MSYPs have also engaged with nearly 3,000 young people and young carers through your local activities, the consultation cards, the consultation day in Edinburgh, and our youth engagement sessions. You’ve met with young carers’ organisations, Councillors, and over 70 MSPs about the campaign. Many of your local councils have passed motions of support.

 

Together, we are spreading the message that young carers need to be treated fairly.

 

We have had much success, but there is still more to do! In August, once the Parliamentary Recess is over, we hope to meet with Michael Russell MSP, the Cabinet Secretary for Education and Lifelong Learning; Keith Brown MSP, the Minister for Transport and Veterans; and Michael Matheson MSP, the Minster for Public Health to lobby for the campaign aims, and make a change for young carers.

 

 

These are the meetings that will lead to the policy changes we want to see for young carers. To secure these meetings, and have the outcomes we want, we need to keep the pressure on, and keep campaigning!

 

MSYPs, we need to use social media to keep raising awareness about the campaign. We need to write to our local papers, and submit blogs to the SYP website. We need to meet with our local councils to spread the word about EMA, and ask them to work with local transport providers to offer young carers reduced travel. We need to write to and meet with our MSPs, and ask them to support the campaign and the meetings we want to have.

 

Together, we can do this.
After our meetings with the Ministers, we will hopefully have a lot of good news we will want to publicise to as many young carers as possible. They need to know the EMA guidance has changed, and that it is easier now for them to keep the payments they are entitled to.LM_SYP_037

 

They’ll also need to know about any changes to bursaries or travel. More details will be sent as the meetings happen, and a new Toolkit will be issued then.

 

For now though, to help demonstrate to councils, MSPs, and the Scottish Government that young people support this campaign, we have designed campaign pledge cards.
Your support worker has 50 cards for each of you. We need you to get your constituents to sign the cards, and show their support for Care.Fair.Share.

 

In a moment, you will decide in your local authority groups who you would like to send the cards to – Councillors, constituency MSPs, regional MSPs. If you have had a successful meeting with your MSPs, it may be best to lobby your local councils to support the campaign. If your MSPs have not been supportive, or if it has been difficult to meet with them, this is a great way to show them that young people in their area want fairer treatment for young carers.

 

Please let me know if you have any questions, and thank you for all of your hard work! Together, we can make Care.Fair.Share. a success!

 

Thank you.