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

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

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?

Nationally
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.

Locally
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.

POVERTY SEE IT CHANGE IT

Terri’s Corner

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

Jokes 

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.

Shoutouts 

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
@3terrismith 

@NairnMcD’s Speech for the POVERTY: See it Change it campaign launch

January 23rd, 2015

POVERTY: See it Change it campaign launch

Nairn McDonald MSYP

Article 6 of the United Nation’s Convention of the Rights of the Child states that children and young people have the right to be alive, survive and to develop through life.

Article 24 states that children and young people have the right to be healthy, and to live in a safe, healthy environment.

Article 26 states that children and young people are entitled to support from the Government if they live in deprivation.

Article 27 states that you have the right to a safe place to live, food and clothing and to take part in things you in enjoy.

 

My name is Nairn McDonald. I am the Member of the Scottish Youth Parliament for Cunninghame South. I also sit on the Board of the Scottish Youth Parliament to represent our Conveners Group, the group of young people that plan and oversee our campaigns. I also pitched this campaign to our membership at our October Sitting.

The articles of the UNCRC which I read out at the beginning are the rights of children and young people. Rights, as we know, are something that all young people are entitled to, they should be cherished and protected.

By thinking of child and youth poverty in this way, it becomes much more apparent that one in five children in Scotland living below an adequate standard is something we cannot be willing to accept. We must do more! Children and young people have inalienable rights that must be protected.

This rights based perspective is the context in which the Scottish Youth Parliament’s POVERTY: See it Change it campaign will raise awareness of, and challenge the stigma associated with, child and youth poverty.

 

I must admit, I was nervous when I was preparing to address the Membership of the Scottish Youth Parliament with proposals for a campaign to help combat child and youth poverty. Poverty is a difficult subject for many people often due to personal experiences, or the negative stigma, which unfortunately is often associated with the word.

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. Poverty can often undermine the health, wellbeing, and the educational opportunities of children and young people.

When pitching the proposals for SYP’s new campaign, I wanted to share my personal experiences having grown up surrounded by poverty. I wanted my fellow MSYPs to understand the passion I have for this campaign, and to understand why there is a drastic need for change, given the devastating impact poverty can have.

 

Poverty is an enigma. It hides itself behind forced smiles and cracking facades. Poverty can affect anyone, at any time, and that is what we must make people recognise.

There is an image of poverty that is portrayed and largely stereotyped by television and other media sources. These stereotypes attempt to define poverty as an issue that only exists in certain areas and only affects certain people. These stereotypes are often fed my irresponsible reporting and misinformation. We must challenge this!

The truth is that poverty can affect anyone, at any time. There are many people who society may not recognise as being affected by poverty, but these people are struggling to keep a roof over their head and food on their table. We need to challenge this stigma and misinformation.

 

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. Many of the organisations represented here today have been working tirelessly for many years on this issue, and we must acknowledge their work and progress they have made.

As 2020 is now only five years away, I believe it is time that we recognise the reality of child and youth poverty in Scotland, and make it our priority to work together to change it. I hope that our contribution through this campaign can change the way young people in Scotland view poverty and those who are living in poverty.

 

At the Scottish Youth Parliament, we have had a number of recent campaign successes including Love Equally, Votes at 16 and Care.Fair.Share. Our strength comes from every single Member of the Scottish Youth Parliament going out and engaging with young people in their area and effectively using social media. With every MSYP passionately campaigning, we can reach thousands of young people through this campaign. This is a massive opportunity. We must grasp it, and we will!

The “POVERTY: See it Change it” campaign will have three main themes.

Firstly, “See it.” We want Scotland’s young people to have a more complete understanding of the reality of child and youth poverty and the right of children and young people to live free from poverty.

Secondly, “Change it.” Our MSYPs will go out and have peer to peer discussions through our bespoke thought provoking youth engagement sessions which will encourage young people to think about the negative stigmas associated with poverty in comparison to the reality, and challenge those stigmas.

And finally “Keep it.”, our MSYPs will engage with local and national decision makers to urge them to keep their commitment to end child and youth poverty by 2020.

We also hope to celebrate and promote the role many fantastic organisations and projects, many of whom are here today, play in tackling poverty across Scotland. I would like to thank all of our partners, who have not only supported the campaign but who have also shared their wealth of knowledge and experience with us. We wouldn’t be able to do this without your support, and we look forward to working with you during the course of the campaign.

 

As Louise mentioned, our Members of the Scottish Youth Parliament voted overwhelmingly to campaign on this issue because that is what their constituents were telling them to do. This is a major priority for the young people of Scotland, they want to see change!

As the democratically elected voice of Scotland’s young people, we must be drivers of that change.

We can’t do it alone! We need as many people as possible to get involved and get behind the campaign. I would really urge you to engage with us online, work with our MSYPs locally, urge your elected representatives to do more.

 

Remember, if you don’t already, follow us on twitter and instagram using @OfficialSYP and follow the progress of the campaign using #seeitchangeit.

 

When thinking about today, and the importance of it for us as an organisation, words from the late Robin Williams sprung to mind. He said, “No matter what people tell you, words and ideas can change the world.”

 

Let the campaign begin!

Thank you.

@weezeontoast’s Speech for the POVERTY: See it Change it campaign launch

January 23rd, 2015

POVERTY: See it Change it campaign launch

Louise Cameron MSYP

One in five children in Scotland lives in poverty. We are one of the most prosperous nations in the world and we allow one in five of our children, which is much higher than many other European countries, to live in poverty.

Today, we are all here because we all agree that this not acceptable. It has to change.

I would like to start by welcoming you all here to the Fuse Youth Cafe in Shettleston. Fuse Youth Café is a charity that works to provide a variety of services to young people in the area. The area has a high level of deprivation and the young people face many risks and challenges associated with areas of high deprivation. Fuse offers a safe place for young people with a café area, gig space and internet café.

The activities and resources they make available are always evolving to meet the needs and requests of young people. The building of positive relationships between Fuse members and youth workers is pivotal to successfully developing the confidence, social and employability skills of the young people that use this service.

The national focus for young people in Scotland is on developing services to enable young people to become confident individuals, successful learners, effective contributors and responsible citizens. These four capacities are fully supported by Fuse’s mission and strategic objectives with their focus on early intervention and underpin our approach to youth work.

The Scottish Youth Parliament is delighted to be able to launch our campaign in this fantastic youth work service. Like Fuse, we share the ambition for young people in Scotland to be provided with the opportunities to use their passion, talent and determination to build a prosperous future for themselves. Thank you to Fuse for having us today.

 

Before I talk a little more about the campaign and SYP, I would like to share a personal story with you. I think it outlines why this campaign is important to me.

The Glasgow Children’s Holiday Scheme is a project that I was brought up with when I was younger. It involved giving a child or young person who lived in poverty, in the very city we are in now, a holiday for a week in a home in a different part of Scotland.

The project aimed to give these young people a different life for a week. It gave them a break, and a positive experience. It gave them proper meals. It gave them a different outlook on life rather than the scenes they were used to seeing every day.

The only problem with was, it was only for a week before they go back to the life they had before. These children and young people deserve more than a week of a better life, they deserve a brighter future, a safe environment and a basic, sustainable, standard of living.

 

From engaging with this project, I learned about the importance of hope. I also learned that many children and young people have to be tough and endure some very difficult times.

The young people who stayed with us often had to do things like the shopping, picking up prescriptions for parents, getting themselves ready for school and cooking their own food, things that many of us are fortunate enough to not have to do as young people.

Life for many young people living in deprivation is very different from the life many of the rest of us know. It isn’t just a life deprived of a basic of standard of living, it’s a life deprived of hope and a feeling that they can create a better life for themselves.

This is no way to grow up, and if we want Scotland to be the best place in the world to grow up, a vision that all of us here today share, then this has to stop.

 

The Scottish Youth Parliament is the democratically elected voice of Scotland’s young people. Our MSYPs chose this campaign because that is what our constituents have been telling us that we need to do.

The young people of Scotland are demanding that we do better, that we be more ambitious, that we strive for more progress. I couldn’t think of a more important priority and a more important campaign for the Scottish Youth Parliament to focus on.

I am also delighted to welcome MSPs and MPs from across the political spectrum here today. I think we are all in agreement that this issue transcends party politics. It is an issue that goes to the core of who we are as a nation, and who we want to be going forward. My challenge to you today is to join us and do more. Speak to your colleagues in Parliament in Edinburgh and London, push them to do more. Work with our MSYPs in your local areas. Together, let’s do more.

I am also pleased to welcome colleagues from many partner organisations across the sector who have been working on this issue for many years, and will continue to do so. At the Scottish Youth Parliament, we place significant value on partnership working, and we are delighted to have you on board.

The hashtag for today’s launch event is #seeitchangeit! I would really urge you to engage with us online throughout the course of this morning.

Youth Parliament Launch Campaign to Tackle Child and Youth Poverty

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

 

“No matter what people tell you, words and ideas can change the world”

January 22nd, 2015

Nairn

When thinking about the launch of our new campaign, which aims to tackle child and youth poverty, this week in Glasgow, I was struck some inspiring words by the late Robin Williams, “No matter what people tell you, words and ideas can change the world.”

I must admit, I was nervous when I was preparing to address the Membership of the Scottish Youth Parliament with proposals for a campaign to help combat child and youth poverty. Poverty is a difficult subject for many people often due to personal experiences, or the negative stigma, which unfortunately is often associated with the word.

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.

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. Poverty can often undermine the health, wellbeing, and the educational opportunities of children and young people.

When pitching the proposals for SYP’s new campaign, I wanted to share my personal experiences having grown up surrounded by poverty. I wanted my fellow MSYPs to understand the passion I have for this campaign, and to understand why there is a drastic need for change, given the devastating impact poverty can have.

Poverty is an enigma. It hides itself behind forced smiles and cracking facades. Poverty can affect anyone, at any time, and that is what we must make people recognise.

There is an image of poverty that is portrayed and largely stereotyped by television and other media. These stereotypes attempt to define poverty as an issue that only exists in certain areas and only affects certain people. The truth is that poverty can affect anyone, at any time. There are many people who society may not recognise as being affected by poverty, but these people are struggling to keep a roof over their head and food on their table. We need to challenge this stigma and misinformation.

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. As 2020 is now only five years away, I believe it is time that we recognise the reality of poverty in Scotland, and make it our priority to work together to change it. I hope we can change the way everybody in Scotland, especially young people, view poverty and those who are living in poverty.

At the Scottish Youth Parliament, we have had a number of campaign successes, and our strength comes from every single Member of the Scottish Youth Parliament going out and engaging with young people in their area and effectively using social media. With every MSYP planning a role, we can reach hundreds if not thousands of young people through this campaign. This is a massive opportunity. We must grasp it.

Through our campaign, we hope to use our reach to speak to thousands of young people across Scotland and further their understanding about what poverty really is compared to how it’s often portrayed.

We also hope to celebrate the role many fantastic organisations and projects play in tackling poverty across Scotland. Youth work and youth services are often the unsung heroes leading the fight against poverty. They continually strive to reduce inequality by providing opportunities for young people to harness all of their passion and talent to create a better and more prosperous life for themselves.

Our Members of the Scottish Youth Parliament voted overwhelmingly to campaign on this issue because that is what their constituents were telling them to do. This is a major priority for the young people of Scotland; they want to see change. As the democratically elected voice of Scotland’s young people, we must be drivers of that change.

We can’t do it alone! We need as many people as possible to get involved and get behind the campaign. I would really urge you to engage with us online, work with our MSYPs locally, urge your elected representatives to do more.

Let the campaign begin!

Nairn McDonald MSYP

Cunninghame South

Youth Parliament Chair encourages organisations to commit to the living wage

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

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

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.”

VICE CHAIR UPDATE NOVEMBER/ DECEMBER 2014 @3TERRISMITH

December 11th, 2014

Terri Smith MSYP

Vice Chair Update November/ December 2014 – Terri Smith MSYP

 

Hello everyone,

Welcome to my fifth and final Vice Chair Update of 2014. This update is extra special as it’s the last one of the year. Therefore, I decided to make this a Christmas themed update, and use it as a platform to reflect on the past year.

I hope you are all excited for Christmas, which is two weeks today. There is also the X Factor final on Saturday, which I’m rather excited about – of course, Nana Lina and I are backing Andrea all the way #goRome!

This is a particularly exciting time of year. However for many people, the Christmas period isn’t as festive as it is for others. In Scotland, one in five young people still live in poverty and as we approach the launch of our new campaign in the New Year, I would like to encourage everyone to have a think about those who are less fortunate than us. If you have some free time and you are keen to make a difference, why don’t you get involved in a project in your local area? By finding out what local projects and events you can help support, you could make someone smile this festive period. Forth One’s ‘Mission Christmas’ is a great example of a positive initiative from one of my local radio stations.

What has your Vice Chair been up to?

Nationally

A few weeks ago, I had the privilege of co-chairing the Children and Young People’s Pre Summit event with the Scottish Government. This was a unique opportunity whereby MSYPs and volunteers from Young Scot facilitated discussions with young people from across Scotland to find out their priorities for the country. The Cabinet Secretary for Education and Lifelong Learning, and the Minister for Children and Young People were in attendance to hear the views expressed from the young people on the day.

UNCRCThursday 20th November 2014 marked the 25th anniversary of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC). Joshua McCormick MSYP, Rhiordan Langan-Fortune MSYP, and I spent the morning interviewing Alison Todd, CEO of Children 1st, and, Tam Baillie, Scotland’s Commissioner for Children and Young People. The action didn’t stop there! Later that day, I gave a speech at Together’s launch of their “State of Children’s Rights in Scotland 2014” report. I also interviewed Aileen Campbell MSP, Minister for Children and Young People, on what her thoughts were on the progress Scotland has made on implementing the UNCRC over the past 25 years. Finally, I also recently attended and presented an award at the ‘Spirit of Youth Awards’ in Perth, and I would just like to take this opportunity to congratulate all nominees and winners! I’ve been up to so much over the last month but I don’t want to spend too long talking about myself, so if you would like to know more then please feel free to ask.

Locally

I’ve been tying up loose ends locally by making sure everyone I work with knows about the progress of Care.Fair.Share., and ensuring everyone is aware that we are about to launch our new campaign in the New Year. I have been particularly busy in promoting the SYP elections, which are taking place in less than 100 days! So many young people have declared an interest to stand as a candidate, and Edinburgh in particular has seen a massive increase in numbers, which I believe is a real testament to the enthusiasm of young people.

I also recently delivered a youth engagement session with Calum Ware, one of our youth engagement workers, at the Junction in Leith. Once again, I can never reiterate enough how much I enjoy engaging with young people in my local community. Final thing from me, I promise! I got rather excited about the recommendations made by the Smith Commission, particularly on the prospect of devolving the electoral franchise, so I wrote an opinion piece on this for the Edinburgh Evening News.

Terri’s corner

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world, indeed it is the only thing that ever had” – Margaret Mead

Jokes

I’ve been looking forward to including these jokes for a while now, and I hope you laugh at them just as much as I did. The best Christmas jokes are:

Best MSYP jokes

Luke McLeod MSYP – What did the salt say to the pepper at Christmas? Season’s greetings.

Rachael McCully MSYP – Why did Santa’s helper go see a counsellor? Because he has low elf-esteem.

Best Conveners Group joke

Nancy Russell MSYP – What do you call someone who doesn’t believe in Santa? A rebel without a Claus.

Best Procedures Group joke

Robbie Nicoll MSYP – Why wasn’t the turkey hungry at Christmas? Because he was stuffed.

Best Board joke

Louise Cameron MSYP – Why did the Christmas lights all go to the party? Because when one goes out, they all go out!

Shoutouts

As always, I never doubted you would all be carrying out exceptional work as we approach the end of this year. Therefore, I would like to give each and every MSYP a massive shoutout for their fantastic work throughout 2014! Please keep being inspirational, and bring the passion and enthusiasm with you into 2015!

My main shoutouts this month go to:

Catherine Hannah MSYP – Catherine went down to London to represent Scotland, as well as Shetland, at the UK Cabinet Office for the British Youth Council’s ‘Make Your Mark’ campaign. I was really pleased to see Shetland being recognised for their fantastic work over the last few months.

I would like to congratulate all of the Scottish MYPs who took part in the annual UKYP debate at the House of Commons. You were all phenomenal. However, I’d like to say massive well done to Junaid Ashraf MSYP who was an exceptional debate lead, and Eilidh Collins MSYP who made a remarkably thought-provoking speech commemorating World War One.

Robbie Nicoll MSYP – Robbie has been working exceptionally hard through engaging with every politician representing his constituency including his MSP, MP, and MEPs.

Mini Staff Interview

The final staff interview of 2014, and also the first one from our Projects Team, is with Claire Conachy who has been working at SYP since January 2014.

What does your job as the Projects Officer at SYP involve?

As with all jobs at SYP, my job is incredibly varied. My role involves writing project plans and timelines for things like We-CTV and the SYP Elections, liaising with other members of the SYP team on youth engagement and communications strategies for projects, liaising with other partners involved in projects, organising training for project champions, assisting in the creation of communications materials such as leaflets and flyers, writing packs and compiling evaluation reports, sourcing guests and speakers for events, assisting in the organisation of project related events and ensuring the excellent reputation of SYP is upheld through running such exciting projects!

What is the best thing about working at SYP?
There are lots of great things about working at SYP. Working on an amazing project like Aye Naw Mibbe at such a pivotal time for Scotland was pretty special. Knowing that I was in some way a part of the work of engaging and registering young voters is something I’ll always remember. Especially seeing such high numbers of first time voters turn out to vote – SYP helped make that happen, you should all be immensely proud! Seeing how passionate MSYPs are about projects, campaigns and Members Motions is also a highlight of the job – it makes you realise what you’re doing is really worthwhile, and it makes me very happy to support the work you do.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve received and what’s the best piece of advice you’ve given?
I was always very inspired by an English teacher I had in school. He was incredibly passionate about his job and always offered great advice. He reminded me to have confidence in my own abilities, and to see life as a never ending quest for knowledge. I’ve done my fair share of collecting advice too. As some of you already know, I love dispensing inspirational quotes, and love my music and literature. There are a few things that have stuck in my mind over the years, to name but a few that I like to remember in times of need:
‘What matters most is how well you walk through the fire’ – Charles Bukowski
‘Courage is grace under pressure’ – Ernest Hemingway
‘No-one can make you feel inferior without your consent’ – Eleanor Roosevelt
‘I’d rather be hated for who I am, than loved for who I am not’ – Kurt Cobain
‘Do or do not, there is no try.’ – Yoda
‘Nothing can dim the light which shines from within’ – Maya Angelou

And lastly, I recommend you all watch this video. It was originally a poem written by Mary Shmich, made into a song by Baz Luhrmann (the director of some fantastic Hollywood movies, Romeo and Juliet and The Great Gatsby to name a few). It’s a great source of wonderful advice. I hope you enjoy!

Finally, as there only weeks 3 weeks left of 2014, what has been your highlight of this year?
The year has been a rollercoaster year for me with lots of highlights. I started work at SYP in January, and I am grateful to have had the chance to work in such a vibrant organisation. Having the opportunity to vote in the independence referendum was a special experience. Meeting new friends in Edinburgh, some new friends for life, has also been pretty special. Lastly, though it pains me to admit it, moving to Edinburgh with my two friends has been a great highlight – I’m having such a great time getting to know this city, it’s a really beautiful place and the vibe here is very different to Glasgow. I hope everyone has a fabulous Christmas and New Year. I’m looking forward to catching up with you all in 2015!

Final thoughts of 2014

I asked all MSYPs what their highlights of this year have been, and every single one of you mentioned Shetland. From John Thain MSYP being thankful the ferry never sank, to Thomas McEachan MSYP describing the Sitting as ‘amazing’ – I think we can all agree Shetland was a weekend we will never forget.

There’s no denying 2014 has been a massive year for Scotland, and for all of us here at the Scottish Youth Parliament. We’ve conducted another successful national campaign highlighting the voices of those in need. Our country became the focus of the entire world with the independence referendum, we’ve hosted the Commonwealth Games and the Ryder Cup, but most importantly, young people have been well and truly at the heart of 2014, and that’s because of all of you.

Finally, and I really do mean finally, I just wanted to take this opportunity to thank MSYPs, Support Workers, SYP Staff, and everyone else we’ve worked with this year for your continued hard work, commitment, and enthusiasm. I wish you all a very enjoyable festive period and all the very best for 2015!

Terri Smith MSYP
Vice Chair of the Scottish Youth Parliament
@3terrismith