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Youth Parliament speaks out about House of Lords session, and EU votes for 16 and 17 year olds.

Thursday, November 19th, 2015

Scottish Youth Parliament Press Office

Today the House of Lords passed an amendment to the EU Referendum Bill that could allow 16 and 17 year olds to vote in the, yet unscheduled, EU membership referendum.  Although the Bill and the amendments still have a long way to go, the Scottish Youth Parliament does view today’s result as a win for young people across the UK.

Chair of the Scottish Youth Parliament, Jordan Linden MSYP said:

“A core principle of the Scottish Youth Parliament is that young people should have a say in the issues that affect them. To help realise this ambition, we have campaigned tirelessly to win the right to vote for 16 and 17 year olds here in Scotland since our organisation began in 1999.  In the Scottish Referendum last year, we saw just how broadly young people participated at the ballot box by casting their vote to have their say in the future of their Country.

“The future of the United Kingdom’s membership within the European Union will greatly affect the future of all young people across these islands, and therefore it is imperative that we have our say at the ballot in the Referendum on the European Union.  We are very happy about the result in the House of Lords today, but recognise there is still a long way to go.

“Here at the Youth Parliament we are not only campaigning to change the voting age, but also for a change of mentality.  We want to live in a world that recognises our voices matter; that’s not just here in Scotland, but across the United Kingdom – our voices must be heard.”


Notes to editor


  1. The Scottish Youth Parliament is the democratically elected voice of Scotland’s young people.
  2. All media enquiries to Anna Dickens Communications Officer, 07753 410676/ 0131 524 0818,

SYP Chair, Jordan Linden MSYP – Speech at the launch of the Child Rights Manifesto

Wednesday, November 18th, 2015

Good Afternoon Colleagues,

Can I begin this Afternoon by sharing how pleased I am to be here at this, my first meeting of the Cross Party Group on Children and Young People, as the new Chair of Scotland’s Youth Parliament. I’m even more pleased to be able to introduce the CPG to the continued work of the Scottish Youth Parliament and in particular our unwavering commitment to the realization of Children and Young Peoples Rights, and indeed ensuring their voices are heard. I am particularly pleased to be here for the launch of the CPG’s Child Rights Manifesto, which, I sincerely hope, will provide an invaluable focus on this crucial issue in the build up to the elections in May.

However, before all of that – I’d like to re-introduce the Scottish Youth Parliament to Members. The Scottish Youth Parliament is the democratically elected voice of Scotland’s Young People made up of 160 Elected MSYPs serving young people in every Constituency in every Scottish Local Authority and indeed representatives of National Voluntary Organisations too. Our Youth Parliament is one which has the rights agenda at the very core of all of it’s work, and in it’s Youth Led Structure I would argue that it is an organisation which enshrines Article 12 of the UNCRC in everything it does.

Our organisation serves to ensure that all decisions that are taken that impact on Young People or indeed their futures reflect the views of Young People – and we continue to champion their voices and their views in all that we do – to help deliver a better future for all of Scotland’s Young People.

It’s my privilege therefore that our friend the Children and Young Peoples Commissioner for Scotland, Tam Baillie extended an invitation to myself and my Board – to be the key hosts for a visit to Scotland by the Vice Chairperson of the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child, Ms. Amal Aldosseri in September this year, as the elected voice of all of Scotland’s Children and Young People.

If you will indulge me, I’m keen to share with this Cross Party Group, just a flavour of the fantastic visits, which my colleagues and I along with the Vice Chairperson made to both Glasgow and Fife.

We undertook visits to a host of environments working with and around Children and Young People during the Vice Chairpersons visit.

From visiting the Children’s Parliament in Falkland, to Kirkland’s High School in Fife and on to the Fife Youth Arts Hub in Kirkcaldy. Each visit in Fife presented us with the difference stories and indeed experiences that Children and Young People have had in relation to the lenses of the CRC.

Our final day was kicked off with a Live Glow Meet between myself and the Vice Chairperson to over 30 Schools in Scotland – engaging directly with Children and Young People – through a Question and Answer Session.

It was the day that the photo of Aylan Kurdi appeared in the National Media and touched the hearts of everyone across the Nation. I remember this, because of a question that a School Pupil asked the Vice Chairperson and I. The Young Girl asked, “Do the Refugee Children who are coming from other countries like Italy have the same rights as those in Scotland.”

I wanted to share that with you. Because it struck a cord with me, with Amal and with everyone in the room. How nuanced the knowledge and emotional intelligence is of our Children and Young People – the innocence of the question – that showcases our true humanity.

After the formal welcome event in the Scottish Storytelling Centre, we visited organisations such as WhoCares Scotland and Clan Childlaw, who shared first hand the work that they do with Children and Young People in Scotland.
One of the visits in Glasgow which will stay with me for all of my days, is a visit to the Glasgow City Mission, and spending the Morning with Parents and their small Children – the time was spent playing in the play room but also – hearing first hand the impact of Welfare Reform to people in Glasgow and I suspect across the Country.

There was so much that was discussed during those two days that we hosted the visit by the Vice Chairperson, that it will be hard to reflect the scale and depth of the incredible conversations and rich discourse which we had.

But some key messages that I took away from the visit was the sheer impact that Child Poverty is having across our Communities in the United Kingdom and indeed, as I have highlighted, the impact which Welfare Reform is having to the Communities most in need – hearing stories of Benefit Sanctions and impact on peoples lives.

Other issues we heard about where the Minimum Age of Responsibility and importantly, the case for Scotland to have a stronger voice in the United Nations Reporting Process. I cannot stress enough, how clear it was to us, that the voices not only of Scotland but of all the Devolved Nations across these Islands – are in urgent need of having their voices heard more loudly and more clearly by the United Nations to ensure that they are being held to account for their decision making and indeed ensure that the realization of Children and Young Peoples Rights become an even greater priority.

So important it was, that the voices and views of Scotland’s Children and Young People be heard, that we then had the opportunity for two of the Board to travel to the United Nations in Geneva to speak at the Pre-Sessional of the Committee on the Rights of the Child and in particular at the Children’s Meeting and the Pre-Session itself where both Ewan McCall MSYP and Kirsty McCahill MSYP made fantastic contributions.

Kirsty and Ewan focused in their evidence session on the impact on Children’s Rights that Child Poverty is having, an in particular, the recognition that the existence of Child Poverty and need for structural change is causal to the lack of realization of Children’s Rights. In addition, they continued to champion other issues, particularly, on the case for Votes at Sixteen in all Elections in the United Kingdom – recognising the importance which we as elected Young People place – to ensuring that we continue to foster participation in Politics by Scotland’s Young People.

In closing, I’m delighted to be able to join you all here for this meeting of the Cross Party Group on Children and Young People and I hope that you have found my remarks to be interesting, informative and my sincere hope is that you found them to be challenging and thought provoking also.

You will very shortly be watching the Vine Videos that share important messages on Children’s Right’s and I hope that you enjoy them.

Thank you again for inviting me and I want to end by saying this, the power which we in this room, and indeed all of those who work with Children and Young People have in changing the future is huge. SYP fully supports the manifesto and we will be encouraging the MSPs and prospective MSPs we meet in the weeks and months ahead to read it and sign up and ensure that children’s rights are central to all of their decisions and actions.

I look forward to working with all of you to deliver a better and fairer future for all of Scotland’s Children and Young People.

North East Fife By Election – Nov 2015

Wednesday, November 11th, 2015

To fill a vacant MSYP seat in North East Fife, there will be a by-election run by the local authority.  The election will run from 16th November to 23rd November, with the results being announced on the evening of the 23rd.

There are three candidates running, and you can find out more about them by reading their manifestos here:

Ben Lawrie – find his manifesto here

Ewan Redpath – find his manifesto here

Kirsty Rodger – find her manifesto here

Find out more about the election here.  On the 16th November, the site will become open for voting!


SYP58 Closing Remarks from Jordan Linden, MSYP Chair of the Scottish Youth Parliament

Wednesday, October 28th, 2015


Well, what a weekend this has been!

Your second National Sitting as a Member of the Scottish Youth Parliament of the 2015-2017 Session has come to a close, and I hope that you have had a wonderful weekend.

This weekend, like every weekend spent with MSYPs has been an absolute privilege, an absolute pleasure and an absolute blast. I have loved every minute spent in your company. For me, highlights of my time as an MSYP are always the ones which are spent with you.

I wanted to highlight some of the incredible things which we have done over this weekend. Beginning with the incredible debates on members motions led by Andrew Kirk, Skye Brettell, Terri Smith, Kain McLeod, Ruraidh Stewart, Kirsty McCahill, Ewan McCall, Lewis Akers, Lewis Douglas, Heather Cameron, Euan Waddell and Cian Gullen.

We have selected a National Campaign that will fundamentally help shape the future of Scotland through policy changes or actions – and it will be because of you. Together, we will take forward our campaign on mental health, and I know, like our previous campaigns, we will succeed!

Our success comes from you, our Members – so please let us know what you’re getting up to as MSYPs – tweet us, email us, pop in to the Office and visit. Our Staff Team are on hand to help and support in anyway they can, from support to contact your Local Media to arranging meetings with your MSPs – our team are happy to help.  We want you to get behind the projects we’re running; but most importantly we want to know and promote the amazing work that you are doing locally!

I wanted to remind you all that there is still time to get your Lead the Way survey responses to us – please make sure you get responses to your Support Workers, so that every survey can be counted. If we are to meet our target of 70,000 responses, we need the help of single person in this room- so please do everything you can to get as many completed consultations back to us as soon as you can.

Coming back to look at what has happened this weekend and in particular on that fantastic campaign we have selected – I do want to congratulate all of the presenters of all of the Campaign Options, Rachael McCully, Alex Robertson, Molly Kirby, Mark Swan and James Thomson, because all of the speeches which were delivered for all of the campaign options were truly incredible and I feel it’s important to recognise that. So a huge well done!

Of course, earlier today we heard from our friend the fantastic Children and Young Peoples Commissioner for Scotland, Tam Baillie on our relationship as an organisation and of course the work that his Office is doing to champion the Rights Agenda.

Reflecting though on this weekends sitting in general, it’s important to recognise as with any event, these sittings do not happen without the hard work and dedication of a number of people and organisations.

I want to pay tribute and thank, Emma Ball and our kind hosts for this weekend, East Renfrewshire Council, for hosting us and organising what was a fantastic evening and incredible entertainment last night. MSYPs can I please ask you to show your appreciation for our hosts, East Renfrewshire Council.

Without this group of special individuals, our work couldn’t take place and we would never be able to achieve the things that we achieve. Our Support Workers are pillars of the work that we do, their support, dedication and belief in the work of the Scottish Youth Parliament drives us forward. I’d like to ask you all, again, to show your thanks for the work of our Support Workers.

There is a special member of Staff within our Scottish Youth Parliament Staff Team, without her, the sittings simply would not happen. Rosy Burgess, is our SYP Events and Campaigns Officer – Rosy thank you for your incredible work over the last few months to make this weekend happen. MSYPs please show your appreciation for Rosy Burgess.

SYP Sittings require a team effort to happen, from co-ordinating with partners, to working hard together to make it happen. Our Scottish Youth Parliament Staff Team are one of a kind, their commitment to ensuring that SYP provides the opportunity and space for its members to create change is second to none. Can I pay tribute to their work and thank all of them for their work. MSYPs please show your appreciation for our fantastic SYP Staff.

My final thanks, is to all of you. Your Passion. Your Enthusiasm. Your Commitment and Respect. Your work this weekend, has meant that the voices and views of young people in your communities across Scotland, have been heard and have fundamentally progressed the participation agenda, and serves as wonderful promotion of the fulfilment of the rights of young people in Scotland.

I want the focus of my final remarks to be on the future, and what’s around the corner for us an organisation.

We have been working hard to develop a new Strategic Plan for this organisation, embedded within it are the principles that underline, protect and deliver the rights of young people, as stated in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. This three-year approach, will allow a stronger, more secure and productive future for this Youth Parliament. At the absolute centre of this plan is a determination to enhance our engagement with all of Scotland’s young people and to build on and expand the participation and involvement of MSYPs in decision making at a community, local and national level.

Over the next few months, we will be working hard to embed this, and ensure that SYP is seen as the go to organisation, and the leading force in the promotion and defence of, the rights of young people in Scotland.

You, the Members of the Scottish Youth Parliament define who we are and what we do as an organisation and what we can achieve. Just as there is no limits to what you can aspire to and achieve, so too are there no limits for us as a collective organisation.

This weekend, you have selected mental health to be your National Campaign for next year. Over the next few months, the Conveners will be working hard with our staff team to develop a comprehensive MSYP led campaign strategy so that we can hit the ground running and with a bang when we launch the campaign that you have chosen, in January 2016.

With a New Year, comes new ambitions and new aspirations. Over the next few weeks, we will know the outcome of the Lead The Way Manifesto Consultation! This is a defining moment in the history of SYP. Our Membership will have the opportunity to launch a manifesto that will last for the next FIVE YEARS! Your work in the final weeks to ensure as many young people as possible participate will provide Lead The Way with the strongest and largest democratic mandate in SYP history and the largest youth consultation of it’s type in Scotland.

I referred to one of our sayings that are often associated with us in my opening remarks yesterday. SYP is a little about politics, and a lot about YOU!

Being part of our organisation and representing the views of your constituents is as much about your development as a person, an individual, as anything else. It’s about the experiences you have, the friends you make, and the change you bring about. Make the most of it. Take every opportunity that comes to you! Make your own opportunities! Together, when we think together, stand together and believe together – we can achieve together!

Over the last few years we have, together, achieved a huge amount. But, of course, now is not the time to be complacent. There are major opportunities on the horizon: such as the Scottish Parliament elections next year.

That is a huge opportunity for us to ensure that the voices of young people are heard, and our views are accounted for by Scottish politicians in the years ahead.

So- here is my challenge to you. Let’s, all of us, work together to make sure that all of the political parties, and all of the candidates in the May election, know where we stand. Every one of you can play your part in that- by talking to every MSYP candidate about the issues in Lead the Way and make sure that the voices of young people are heard!

And now, for something quite exciting. I am delighted to announce that the 59th National Sitting of the Scottish Youth Parliament will be held in 13th and 14th March 2016 in the Scottish Borders.  We will be in touch with everyone over the next few weeks with more details, and Members’ Motions suggestions will open in December.  The March 2016 Sitting also includes the SYP Awards, and nominations will be opening in November, so start thinking about who you would like to nominate to receive an award at this celebration of your first year as MSYPs!

I want to end, by thanking you all for the passion and enthusiasm that you have demonstrated this weekend. I look forward to hearing about all the amazing work which you are doing over the next few weeks.

I would encourage you to please keep in contact with your Regional Board Members to keep us informed of the incredible things which you are doing across the country to make a difference to the lives of Scotland’s young people.

Thank you all for a truly special weekend- you have been fantastic. I hope that you feel as energised as I do by all that we have achieved over the last couple of days, and that, like me, can’t wait to get started on the work that is about to begin. Every single one of you is making a real and tangible difference to the lives of Scotland’s young people, through all of your hard work. As you travel home, I hope you remember that, I hope that you take pride in it, and I hope you continue to work as hard as you can to deliver a brighter future for every young person in this country.



See you soon!


#TellTheUN – @JLindenMSYP, Chair of the Scottish Youth Parliament

Monday, August 31st, 2015

On Wednesday 2nd and Thursday 3rd September, the Vice Chairperson of the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child, Ms. Amal Aldoseri will visit Scotland to hear directly from Scotland’s children and young people about their experiences of life here in our country.

The visit will help the UN Committee with its consideration of how Scotland and the rest of the United Kingdom are performing in relation to promoting and protecting the rights of children and young people as outlined in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.Jordan Linden Chair

For me, this is an incredible opportunity for children and young people to have their voices heard loudly, clearly and directly by the United Nations about what they feel is working well, and what needs to be improved.

As the democratically elected voice of Scotland’s young people, Scotland’s Commissioner for Children and Young People, Tam Baillie, has asked the Scottish Youth Parliament, and myself as the newly elected Chair along with our Board, to act as the key host for the duration of the visit, on behalf of Scotland’s children and young people.

At the Scottish Youth Parliament, our role is to represent and make strong links with the young people we represent locally. Therefore, during Ms Aldoseri’s visit we will be escorting her around a number of projects and discussion groups to showcase the fantastic work many organisations do to promote the rights and the participation of children and young people, but also to highlight the areas where we can work together to improve.

As part of the visit, wIMG_2192e want to make sure that young people across Scotland can get involved and feel like they are a part of Ms Aldoseri’s visit, wherever they may live in our country. That’s why we are encouraging young people across Scotland to tweet their questions, views or thoughts using #TellTheUN! During the course of the visit and afterwards, we’ll do our best to ensure as many of your views are conveyed to Amal as possible.
I feel incredibly proud and privileged that SYP has been asked to act as the host to Ms. Aldoseri during her visit – and the opportunity to once again work in partnership with organisations across Scotland who share our commitment to ensuring the rights of children and young people are promoted and protected is one which we relish.

So in closing, I’d really like to urge all young people to take the opportunity to share their views with Ms. Aldoseri during her visit so we can ensure that the genuine voices of young people are heard!

Remember, all you need to do is tweet using #TellTheUN!



Youth Parliament launches biggest ever manifesto consultation

Tuesday, June 30th, 2015






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,

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.

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

Vice Chair Update January 2015 @3terrismith

Wednesday, January 28th, 2015

TerriSmith UNCRC

Happy New Year everyone! I hope you all had a very enjoyable festive period, and are raring to go and get stuck into things in 2015.

Unfortunately for me, all the good telly has stopped, so there’s no more predicting who’s going to win the X Factor. I could go on about Big Brother, but I’ll save you the pain.

This year marks SYP’s 16th year, and many of us only have 5 months left of our term as MSYPs. With this in mind, I ask you all to remember why you first stood for election, and reignite that passion and dedication. With the launch of our new national campaign, this is a perfect platform for MSYPs to leave a lasting legacy. You’ve already done that with Care.Fair.Share., and that deserves a massive well done. We’ve created a long standing tradition of standing up for some of the most vulnerable and disadvantaged young people in Scotland, and I believe 2015 will be full of successful achievements.


What has your Vice Chair been up to?

January is always a very quiet period. However, there have been a few going-ons I’ve been involved in. At the start of the year, I wrote an article for the Campaign for Scottish Home Rule website about the importance of keeping young people involved in the devolution of further powers to Scotland. I had the privilege of selecting MSYPs to attend the Belfast exchange in mid-February, and I want to say well done to all those who applied; the standard of applications was exceptional. Last week along with many other MSYPs, I attended SYP’s assessment from the Investors in Young People, and fingers crossed we impressed the assessors. Recently, I also had the privilege of questioning the Prime Minister, David Cameron MP, on lowering the voting age to 16. Keep an eye on this week’s SYP News for more on this. Finally, last but by no means least, I attended the launch of our 2015 national campaign, POVERTY: See It Change It. Once again, I am delighted to support and promote a campaign that stands up for the most vulnerable people in society. Remember to download the campaign toolkit here. You can also watch a short clip from Nairn McDonald MSYP explaining the contents of the POVERTY: See It Change It campaign toolkit here.

Again, another fairly quiet start to the year locally, but I have used this time to finalise my candidacy in the #SYPElex, and most importantly, I’ve been promoting the upcoming elections to schools, colleges, universities, and youth groups within Edinburgh. Finally, I wrote to all the Edinburgh Councillors and my local MSP to update them on the achievements of Care.Fair.Share., and to thank them for their support. Many of those whom I have sent letters to have replied congratulating us all for our efforts, and they can’t wait to hear about what we do with our new campaign.


Terri’s Corner

“It’s important to give it all you have while you have the chance” – Shania Twain


Thanks for the jokes. I hope 2015 is filled with fun and laughter for you all.

Best MSYP joke 

James Goodwin MSYP – I tried to take a photo of the fog the other day but I mist.

Martyna Napiereska MSYP – Why did the mushroom go to the party? Because he was a fungi. But why didn’t they let him in? Because there wasn’t mushroom.

Best Procedures Group joke

Rhiannon Carroll MSYP – My friend thinks he’s smart. He told me the only food that can make you cry is an onion, so I threw a coconut at him.

Best Board joke 

Rachael McCully MSYP – Why does Peter Pan always fly?  Because he neverlands. I love that joke because it never gets old. It’s got a nice hook.


It’s been a great start to the year, with many of you getting stuck right in to the work of SYP. My main shoutouts this month go to:

Nicole Dempster MSYP – Nicole’s dedication and enthusiasm is exceptional and she continually impresses me with the work she does locally, and particularly the work she does as the Convener of Jobs and Economy Committee. Keep up the great work.

Eilidh Dolan MSYP –  Congratulations to Eilidh Dolan MSYP who recently became Chairwoman of Glasgow Youth Council. I wish you and your colleagues a successful year.

Gary Paterson MSYP and Nancy Russell MSYP – Both Gary and Nancy are Scotland’s representatives at the UK Youth Ambassadors, and they continue to do a great job at representing us all nationally and internationally. You can get involved in their latest survey seeking your views here.

Both Nairn McDonald MSYP and I would like to give a shout out to all the Conveners for their all hard work, and also to Martyna Napiereska MSYP and Ehsan Salim MSYP for stepping in to attend the last Conveners Group meeting in their role as Deputy Conveners.

David McLaughlin – It is with sadness we announce the resignation of David McLaughlin as a Trustee. Louise would like to thank him on behalf of the entire Board and Membership for all his time and efforts as a Trustee, and would like to wish him the best for his future.


Mini Staff Interview  

The first staff interview of 2015 is with Steph Brown who’s been SYP’s Communications Officer since November 2013.
1.) What does your job as the Communications Officer at SYP involve?
As the Communications Officer at SYP, I plan and implement communications strategies to promote all of the amazing work that MSYPs do. This involves issuing press releases, facilitating interviews, supporting MSYPs to write articles and blogs, working with designers to produce promotional materials, etc. I’m also responsible for our internal communications, including SYP News, and I manage SYP’s social media accounts.

2.) Why is Musselburgh better than anywhere else in Scotland?
Musselburgh is actually a pretty interesting place. ‘Mussy’, as it is commonly known, is a coastal town with its own fair share of iconic landmarks and quirky traits that make it unique. Here are some facts about my home town:

  • Musselburgh is an Honest Town, and every year it hosts its own festival where an honest lad and lass are crowned. The festivals are organised by the Honest Town Association (HTA).
  • One of Musselburgh’s golf courses is recognised as the oldest in the world. It is claimed that Mary Queen of Scots played here in 1567.
  • Musselburgh has its own songs, including a local anthem about Musselburgh being a burgh before Edinburgh.
  • By 1690 Musselburgh had a larger population than Leith, with a high proportion employed in the area’s woollen mills and coal mines.
  • Musselburgh Racecourse has some of the best racing events in the UK.
  • Musselburgh offers a range of dining options. My personal favourite is The Caprice, which is an amazing Italian restaurant. Top tip: if it’s your Birthday, you dine for free!
  • Although Musselburgh has everything you could ever need, Edinburgh is only a 7 minute train journey away.

3.) If you could have one super power what would it be and why?
This is a really tough question, but I reckon I’d choose the power of teleportation. I could go wherever I wanted, whenever I wanted.

4.) If you could go anywhere in the world, where would you go and why?
If I could go to any place, I would love to go back to Alice Springs and visit the Camel Cup again. It’s a hilarious racing event with camels instead of horses. Unlike in horse racing, the camels just do whatever they want, and so they end up running the wrong way down the track, stopping mid-race, and just generally being chaotic. There are also water fights, helicopter trips, face-painting, and loads of food stalls. It’s amazing.

I would also love to go to a World Cup final. So, Ideally a World Cup held in Alice Springs, sponsored by the Camel Cup.


Final thoughts 

I asked MSYPs what their wishes and resolutions were for 2015, and I would like to share the following with you:

David Stewart MSYP wishes our new campaign raises awareness of the issues faced by those in poverty.

Robbie Nicoll MSYP wants to take every opportunity possible and enjoy every moment.

Nairn McDonald MSYP  wishes to see the youth electorate continually engaged, and he wants to leave his position in a place stronger than he found it.

Thomas Mair MSYP wishes to continue to work for SYP and make definitive change for Scotland’s young people.

Nicole Dempster MSYP’s resolution is to be more spontaneous; so far she’s eaten an avocado! Nicole also wishes for lots of people to get involved in #SYPElex.

Ciaran Davidson MSYP wishes for one last big energetic debate, and to go out with a bang.

Whatever your wishes and resolutions are, I wish you a very happy and prosperous year!


Reminders – Don’t forget to order your SYP leavers hoodie. You can order them here. If you have any problems, get in contact with Melissa Gorman MSYP.


You can get involved in the next Vice Chair update here.

I look forward to updating you all again in February, but until then if you have any questions, queries, or of course banter, get in touch!
Terri Smith MSYP
Vice Chair of the Scottish Youth Parliament

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,