Campaign Update from Nairn McDonald MSYP #SYP55

October 4th, 2014

SYP55 National Sitting 2014

It is difficult to believe that this is the third time we have gathered to speak about Care.Fair.Share., our national campaign for 2014.

What a year it has been!

I can proudly report that we have engaged nearly 4,000 young people in our campaign thus far, demonstrating that young people across Scotland want a fairer deal for young carers. You have spoken to young people through the consultation cards and the campaign pledge cards, through your local media and social media, through local launches and events, calling for change.

We have also met with or written to over 70 MSPs, and dozens of local councillors. Our profile in the Scottish Parliament continues to rise. We have achieved cross-party support for motions recognising the campaign and our research report, “A Costly Youth: The Impact of Caring on Young People in Scotland”. We have been mentioned several times in the chamber, and politicians are taking note of our campaign and its impact. Furthermore, many of you have convinced your local councils to pass motions supporting the campaign, and calling for change.

Our collective efforts have ensured that the guidance for the Education Maintenance Allowance has changed so that young carers do not lose their payments due to absences and situations related to their caring duties. We have changed it for the better, and helped make Scotland a fairer place for young carers.

Importantly, we have also raised awareness across the country about the issues that are facing young carers, a group that is often overlooked. We have created change, and hopefully there is more to come.

Our work is not done. Key meetings are scheduled that could result in even more changes for young carers. However, until then, there is still much work to be done on a local level, but I will let Lauren tell you a bit more about that in just a moment.

It is so important that SYP be able to account for all the amazing work we have done this year, and show how many young people and young carers we are speaking to, and how many MSPs, Councillors and MPs are supporting our cause. It is vitally important that we get this information. Please ensure you fill out the campaign activity survey. Copies of this are enclosed in the Support Worker packs. Please ask your Support Worker for a copy. The more we know about the great work done throughout Scotland, the stronger the campaign will be.

On a final note, can I once again congratulate you all on a very successful campaign thus far. Remember, even though we are about to choose the next national campaign, Care.Fair.Share. is still our priority until January. Keep fighting for a better deal for Scotland’s young carers, and for positive change locally and nationally. I know we can all do it together.

I would like to take a moment, on behalf of the Conveners, to sincerely thank Lauren King MSYP for all the hard work she has put into the campaign so far. She has led from the front, and her passion and dedicate are an inspiration to us all.

Opening Remarks to #SYP55 from Louise Cameron MSYP, Chair of the Scottish Youth Parliament

October 4th, 2014

SYP55 National Sitting

Louise Cameron MSYP, Chair of the Scottish Youth Parliament

Louise Cameron MSYP, Chair of the Scottish Youth Parliament

Welcome everyone to the Scottish Youth Parliament’s 55th Sitting in Perth, right in the heart of Scotland! I am so excited to be welcoming you all to this sitting which will be my first Sitting as Chair! First and foremost, I would like to extend my warmest thanks to Perth and Kinross Council for hosting us.

It has been an incredible few months settling into my new role.

The last time I seen most of you was on the beautiful island of Shetland which I think will be an extremely memorable sitting for us all, but the months following have been absolutely jam packed full of activity in SYP. We as an organisation have had a huge amount of success in these months and we are expanding very quickly with the amount of young people we are reaching.

So, to start I would like to say a huge thank you to everyone in the room. We have made it through the referendum and we as an organisation have engaged thousands of young people. Our organisation has had incredible success in terms of engaging with young people throughout this process, and every single member has contributed to showing that young people are engaged in politics.

Ready Steady Vote Week and the Aye Naw Mibbe project led to us engaging with over 10000 young people directly as well as registering nearly 3000 people to vote.

On Twitter we had the hashtag #YourVoteMatters, as a result of a very successful partnership with Twitter, which was mentioned nearly 7000 times, and we gained over 300 new followers. We did that in two days.

As an organisation we worked together and we have proven the strength and quality of our outreach activity and just how strong it is when we work as a collective unit. SYP has been absolutely instrumental in ensuring that young people can have their say, and we have proven the case to get 16 and 17 year olds the vote in all future elections. As a result of your work, SYP has earned a profound and lasting legacy from the referendum.

We now have a duty to ensure that young people continue to be at the forefront of politics, and we cannot let Votes at 16 slip away from our reach, especially when we have defeated every single argument against it by proving that young people are listening and they are engaged.

This weekend we get to pick our new campaign for the year ahead, however we will also get to hear about the progress with Care.Fair.Share from Lauren King, the campaign lead and also Nairn MacDonald who is the new Conveners Trustee on the Board.

At SYP we have recently released a unique piece of research called a Costly Youth: The Impact of Caring on Young People in Scotland, which is the first of its kind for our organisation. It highlights financial circumstances which carers face and the impact this can have on their educational, social and emotional development.

Not only does this put SYP on the map in politics, demonstrating how we are contributing to the wider research and policy landscape, but it is also a very emotive piece of research with shocking figures showing the hardship faced by these young people. If you haven’t already, I would encourage you to read it on our website.

I would just like to thank Lauren for her work on the campaign this year, Lauren has been an extremely inspiring and charismatic debate lead and has personally put so much time into ensuring our campaign is not just brushed under the carpet but remains a priority with key decision makers. Together, we are shaping the country we live in, and, through all your local campaigning efforts, we are creating a Scotland where young people have influence and can affect change through their strong and influential youth parliament.

In other news, We-CTV has been launched, a popular project which we run in collaboration with the No Knives Better Lives initiative. For those of you who don’t know, it’s a competition and this year they are raising awareness of interpersonal violence. We will be hearing from the We-CTV champions later to hear about the project and their vision of how SYP will take it forward.

And lastly we have launched the national elections process for the 2015 membership! How time flies when you’re having fun! Between now and the start of November we will be looking for candidates for the next membership and we will show you a little video about the elections over the course of the weekend.

So what do we have planned for you over this weekend?

As always we have so much exciting and innovative activities crammed in over the weekend! We have Members Motions, Campaign Selection, Subject committees and some youth engagement activities. 

We have a new structure for Members Motions based on the feedback from MSYPs from the outcome of the Procedures Group consultation, so this weekend we will be doing members motions a little bit differently! We will try to debate as many motions as possible, taking them in the order determined by the online vote, as voted on by MSYPs. This means that if we have a clear consensus on a motion and there has been enough debate on it then we can move straight to the vote. I hope this explains it to you briefly for now but I will explain again when we get to that section.

We will have our update from Lauren and Nairn about Care.Fair.Share and we will also will get to pick our brand new shiny campaign for the year ahead! We have some exciting and interesting options up for the campaigns so choose wisely!

Also we will have a variety of Subject Committee activities over the weekend which will let you have some thought provoking discussions with your committees.

With a fantastic weekend ahead of us, I hope you all have a great time. Join the fun on twitter with the hashtag #SYP55. We have a weekend of celebration from all that we have achieved in the past few months, but I hope that it’s also a weekend of ambition and determination to do even better, and take SYP to a new level!

It is now my pleasure to welcome Provost Liz Grant to the stage to welcome you to Perth.

Thoughts from Louise Cameron, Chair of the Scottish Youth Parliament ahead of SYP55

October 1st, 2014

SYP55 in Perth

With only a few days left to go until the Scottish Youth Parliament’s 55th National Sitting, MSYPs from across Scotland are making last minute preparations for what is set to be a great weekend in Perth and Kinross.

Since the last National Sitting in July 2014, a lot has happened. The Care.Fair.Share. campaign has been progressing with great success thanks to the dedicated efforts of MSYPs.

Also, MSYPs have recently seen fantastic achievements as a result of all the hard work and commitment to encourage young people all over Scotland to vote in the referendum. Young people registered in their masses, and turned out on the 18th September to have their say, proving that young people take their right to vote seriously, and undoubtedly deserve the right to vote in all elections.

Young people truly are at the forefront of shaping the future of our society.

Louise Cameron, Chair of the Scottish Youth Parliament, has shared her thoughts in a video message ahead of SYP55. You can watch what Louise has to say here.


Youth democracy descends on Perth

September 30th, 2014

 

Scottish Youth Parliament Press Office

Youth democracy descends on Perth

SYP53 Care.Fair.Share. Support

This weekend, the Scottish Youth Parliament (SYP) will host its 55th National Sitting in Perth.

The Scottish Youth Parliament is the democratically elected voice of Scotland’s young people. Nearly 160 Members of the Scottish Youth Parliament (MSYPs), who are elected every two years, meet three times a year at National Sittings to debate policy, select campaign priorities, and host events with stakeholders and other guests.

This Sitting is a key event for the SYP as this is when the full Membership of the organisation will vote on the national campaign priority for the coming year. These meetings are hugely important occasions that provide a platform for youth-led debate and decision making, truly empowering Scotland’s young people.

Speaking before the event, the Chair of the Scottish Youth Parliament, Louise Cameron MSYP said:

“Nearly 160 young people will meet in Perth this weekend to debate policy, select a national campaign, and discuss how we can continue to engage young people across the country in politics.

“Through their engagement and participation in the independence referendum, young people across Scotland have demonstrated that they are interested in politics and they want to have their say.

“Our National Sitting is a vital opportunity for the Scottish Youth Parliament to ensure young people can continue to be heard by decision makers and shape their own futures. I am looking forward to meeting in Perth and discussing the issues that young people have told us matter to them, and working with my fellow MSYPs to affect positive change for young Scots.”

Also speaking ahead of the weekend, Dillon Kennedy, MSYP for Perth, said:

“I am looking forward to having the opportunity to welcome my fellow MSYPs to my hometown constituency for the Scottish Youth Parliament’s National Sitting. MSYPs are continually campaigning and working hard to engage young people across the country. I am excited to grasp this great opportunity to showcase the fantastic work the elected MSYPs for Perth and Kinross have been doing in our constituency.

“I hope that my fellow MSYPs will have a great time in Perth Sitting and that our Sitting will result in discussions and policy that benefits young people across the Scotland.”

Perth and Kinross Provost Liz Grant said that she was looking forward to welcoming the Scottish Youth Parliament to Perth, and added:

“I am delighted that the Scottish Youth Parliament will be holding their Sitting in Perth this weekend. The Youth Parliament is an excellent example of how young people can get engaged in the political process. We are fortunate in Perth and Kinross to also have a very active Youth Council and I hope that the Scottish Youth Parliament visit to this area will encourage more local young people to engage with politics at both a national and local level.”

Vice Chair Update – August 2014 Terri Smith MSYP

September 29th, 2014

 

Terri Smith MSYPHello everyone,

I can’t believe it’s already been two months since I was elected as the Vice Chair of SYP. It’s still very exciting and I’m learning something new every week. I hope everyone had a fantastic summer, and for those of you who have returned to school, college and work, I hope you’ve all settled in well. For everyone starting university in the coming weeks, I wish you all the very best.


I’ve been extremely busy over the last month. I attended the League of Young Voters meeting in London, which was great to hear from other organisations to discuss the successful and challenging aspects of voter engagement and voter registration.

The Board also had its first official meeting, which was exciting, and it was great to witness and be part of such a fantastic group dynamic. The next meeting is in October 2014, and if you would like to have any input then, as always, drop me an email.

Also in August, I chaired the first Conveners Group meeting, which for me was fab, having previously served as a Convener. It was great to see how much the group had evolved, and to see the plans each Subject Committee has for the year ahead.

I’ve also been involved in some media opportunities too, including an interview with BBC Radio Scotland and two broadcast interviews with BBC News and one with Sky News on the referendum. You can also check out two online articles below:

Third Force News
Daily Record


Locally

As ever, I’ve been out every week promoting Care.Fair.Share. and Aye Naw Mibbe. I met with the City of Edinburgh and Lothian Buses in a joint meeting about concessionary travel for young carers, and I hope to continually update you all on the progress from this in the coming months.


As the registration deadline drew to a close for independence referendum, I was really pleased to have personally registered 240 young people in my constituency. Being right in the heart of the community engaging with young people is something I enjoy.

Terri’s corner

“Somewhere inside all of us is the power to change the world.” – Roald Dahl

Once again, thank you all for sending me your jokes. The reason for having this section is not only because it’s a bit of banter, but I think it’s important that once in a while everyone takes a break from the hard work they do and have a good laugh.

  • Thomas Mair MSYP – Why can’t penguins fly? Because they’re biscuits.
  • Scott Simpson MSYP – A sick patient asked the doctor, “flu?” The doctor replied, “I came in on my bike, actually!”
  • Hazel Sharp MSYP – I went to a really emotional wedding the other day. Even the cake was in tiers.

Shoutouts


MSYPs are the beating heart of the Scottish Youth Parliament and continually amaze me with their work and commitment to SYP. I would need a lot more time and space to write up all the fantastic things each person gets up to, but for this month, I would like to make some noise about the following people:

 

  • Ellena Leslie MSYP – Many MSYPs would like to congratulate Ellena on her recent election as Chair of the Highland Youth Parliament. Well done.
  • Scott Simpson MSYP – Thomas McEachan MSYP wants to give a mention to Scott, who successfully managed to navigate seven MSYPs on the Glasgow subway. This  resulted in copious amounts of banter after the BYC Scottish Convention in Glasgow.
  • Lauren King MSYP – I think we would all agree, Lauren has been a fantastic campaign lead for Care.Fair.Share. and as we get closer to SYP55 and choosing a new campaign, I think everyone should take a leaf out of Lauren’s book, as she has been a fantastic role model. Lauren’s enthusiasm and determination has been hugely significant throughout the campaign. Lauren also led in the development and publication of ‘A Costly Youth‘, SYP’s  research report exploring the challenging financial circumstances facing Scotland’s young carers.

 

Finally, we have entered the post referendum period, and I just wanted to take a moment to thank you all for your hard work on the Aye Naw Mibbe project. Some of you may feel slightly disheartened, and that’s okay, but this is an exciting time in Scottish politics. Not only have you all helped create history, but we can now be a part of helping to shape the type of Scotland young people want to live in.


Enjoy the next few weeks, continue the great work, and as always, any questions, queries or banter, send it my way.

Terri Smith MSYP

Vice Chair of the Scottish Youth Parliament
@3terrismith

Scottish Youth Parliament Chair says a lowered voting age must be part of new Scottish and UK devolution settlements

September 23rd, 2014

 Scottish Youth Parliament Press Office

Tuesday 23rd September 2014

©DN Anderson

Scottish Youth Parliament Chair says a lowered voting age must be part of new Scottish and UK devolution settlements

The Chair of the Scottish Youth Parliament, Louise Cameron MSYP, has called on the political leaders of Scotland and the United Kingdom to include lowering the voting age to 16 as part a new devolution settlement for Scotland and the wider United Kingdom.

Speaking after the First Minister praised the level of engagement among 16 and 17 years old in the Scottish independence referendum, and a pledge from Ed Miliband at the Labour Party Conference in Manchester, Cameron said that lowering the voting age must be part of any new agreed devolution settlement.

Cameron, an 18 year old from Moray and Chair of the Scottish Youth Parliament said:

“The Scottish Youth Parliament and our partners have campaigned for the voting age to be lowered since the Scottish Parliament was established 15 years ago. When this was included in the Edinburgh Agreement, we accepted the opportunity to engage and inform young voters.

“The opportunity was also for the young people of Scotland to prove that they take the right to vote seriously and justify for it to be extended across all UK elections. With over 80% of young people registered to vote, young people have proven that we take our right to vote seriously, and we have earned an extension of the voting age to all elections.

“As Chair of the Scottish Youth Parliament, I know how engaged young people have been over the recent months. As an organisation, we have been working hard to remove any potential barriers to participation. Scotland’s young people have been on an amazing journey. The national discussion about the future of Scotland has captivated an entire generation of young people. We have an opportunity to harness this engagement and ensure it continues for future elections and I urge the Prime Minister and the UK Government to look to our experience in Scotland when considering a new devolution settlement for Scotland and the rest of the United Kingdom.”

The future of Scotland: the journey is only beginning

September 19th, 2014

The future of Scotland: the journey is only beginning

Youth Parliament Chair says the journey to deciding Scotland’s future begins now

Yesterday, we witnessed one the greatest acts of self-determination in history where our country went to the ballot box to decide the course of its own future.

There will be much analysis and discussion about the result, a lot of celebration, and a lot of disappointment. I don’t think anyone could say that this debate lacked passion. Instead of focusing on the outcome, and what has been achieved, I want to focus more on the process.

However, I think we need to cast our minds back to October 2012 to fully appreciate what has been achieved from the process. The Scottish Youth Parliament, along with other organisations successfully campaigned for 16 and 17 year olds to be able to vote for the first time in recent history. This presented both a huge opportunity, and a huge challenge.

It’s no secret that young people aged 18-24 have always been lowest age demographic to turn out to vote. This has always led©DN Anderson to all sorts of unsubstantiated remarks such as “young people just don’t care about politics.” From our work at the Scottish Youth Parliament, which primarily focuses on engaging young people in politics on the basis of issues rather than political parties, we knew that wasn’t true. Yet it was always quite tricky to disprove, until October 2012.

For the last two years, Scotland has been on the most amazing journey of political engagement and civic participation. There has the usual confrontational party political element as always, but I guess that is to be expected; both sides are trying to win a debate. However, what has been more prevalent and more important is how the people of Scotland, and civic society, have engaged in this debate which fundamentally has set our future course for generations to come. Many people who have never voted in their lives, or were once voters and have since become disillusioned, have become engaged or re-engaged over the last number of months. What is more impressive still is that the debate has turned into one of not just constitution, but of national identity, civic pride and self-determination.

As a young person, I have been absolutely astounded at the amount of effort that has gone in from schools, colleges and universities, youth groups and other civic and voluntary organisations, and the campaigns, to try and remove barriers to participation in this debate and actively engage young people, particularly those young people who face more challenging circumstances. I am proud that the Scottish Youth Parliament led the way in developing innovative ideas and methods to engage thousands of young people, in an impartial manner, pointing them to sources of information to help them make an informed decision for themselves.

The process and the level of participation, combined with extraordinary efforts to engage young people, is the real achievement from this referendum.

The task now is to build on this achievement. All of us, political parties, schools, colleges and universities, youth clubs, voluntary organisations etc have a responsibility to take the lessons, both positive and negative, and learn from them.

What have we learned? Well firstly, we know for certain that young people care about politics, certainly issue based politics. We know that young people want as much factual information as possible before they make their decision; they want to know how their vote will affect their everyday lives. This has been further supported by extensive social attitudes research undertaken by the University of Edinburgh. We know that young people appreciate politicians making a genuine and meaningful effort to speak to them directly to answer their questions. Finally, we know how valuable educational institutions, youth work facilities and other voluntary organisations throughout civic society can be in terms of starting the conversation with young people about politics, and why it’s important to vote. Surely this makes a compelling case for much more substantive, robust and consistent political and civic education as a key part of the curriculum.

In addition, this process has proved the case for extending the right to vote to 16 and 17 year olds. Young people have shown that when political parties and politicians, when given a little nudge by organisations such as the Scottish Youth Parliament, meaningfully engage with them, on their terms, in their environment, providing honest answers to honest questions, then young people will turn out and make an informed decision for themselves at the ballot box

We have a once in a lifetime opportunity to build on what has been achieved through this process, to harness all of the positive young voter engagement work that has taken place over the last two years to ensure Scotland’s young people have their voices heard. We all have a responsibility, so let’s work together and make it happen.

Youth Parliament Chair says the journey to deciding Scotland’s future begins now

September 19th, 2014

 

Scottish Youth Parliament Press Office 

  Friday 19th September

Youth Parliament Chair says the journey to deciding Scotland’s future begins now

©DN Anderson

The Chair of the Scottish Youth Parliament, Louise Cameron MSYP, has said that the real work for deciding Scotland’s future begins after the referendum.

The Scottish Youth Parliament has been working on a large scale young voter engagement project from January 2014.

Speaking after Scotland voted to remain part of the United Kingdom, Cameron, a first time voter herself, spoke of the significant amount of positive work that had gone in to engaging young voters, and of the need to harness this post-referendum in order to shape a new phase of devolved politics in Scotland.

Speaking after the announcement, she said:

“Many people will say that the announcement of the outcome of the referendum was a historic moment in Scottish history, but I think the real achievement of this referendum has been the process. For the last two years, Scotland has been on the most amazing journey of political engagement, civic participation and national discussion.

As a young person, I have been absolutely astounded at the amount of effort that has gone in from schools, youth groups and other civic and voluntary organisations, and the campaigns, to try and remove barriers to participation and actively engage young people, particularly those young people who face more challenging circumstances. I am proud that the Scottish Youth Parliament led the way in developing innovative ideas and methods to engage thousands of young people, in an impartial manner, pointing them to sources of information to help them make an informed decision for themselves.

The process, and the level, of participation combined with extraordinary efforts to engage young people is the real achievement of this referendum. We have a once in a lifetime opportunity to build on what has been achieved through this process, to harness all of the positive young voter engagement work that has taken place over the last two years to ensure Scotland’s young people play a key role in shaping  the next phase of devolution in Scotland. The journey of building Scotland’s future begins now, and we all have a responsibility to ensure young people are at the heart of it.”

Louise Cameron MSYP: Young people must shape our future today, but the journey is only beginning

September 18th, 2014

Today, we will witness one the greatest acts of self-determination in history where our country will go to the ballot box to decide the course of its own future.

There will be much analysis and discussion about the result, a lot of celebration, and a lot of disappointment. I don’t think anyone could say that this debate lacked passion. However, instead of focusing on the outcome, and what it might be, I want to focus more on the process.

However, I think we need to cast our minds back to October 2012 to fully appreciate what has been achieved from the process. The Scottish Youth Parliament, along with other organisations successfully campaigned for 16 and 17 year olds to be able to vote for the first time in recent history. This presented both a huge opportunity, and a huge challenge.

It’s no secret that young people aged 18-24 have always been lowest age demographic to turn out to vote. This has always led to all sorts of unsubstantiated remarks such as “young people just don’t care about politics.” From our work at the Scottish Youth Parliament, which primarily focuses on engaging young people with politics on the basis of issues rather than political parties, we knew that wasn’t true. Yet it was always quite tricky to disprove, until October 2012.©DN Anderson

For the last two years, Scotland has been on the most amazing journey of political engagement and civic participation. There has the usual confrontational party political element as always, but I guess that is to be expected; both sides are trying to win a debate. However, what has been more prevalent and more important is how the people of Scotland, and civic society, have engaged in this debate which will fundamentally define our path for generations to come. Many people who have never voted in their lives, or were once voters and have since become disillusioned, have become engaged or re-engaged over the last number of months. What is more impressive still is that the debate has turned into one of not just constitution, but of national identity, civic pride and self-determination.

As a young person, I have been absolutely astounded at the amount of effort that has gone in from schools, colleges and universities, youth groups and other civic and voluntary organisations, and the campaigns, to try and remove barriers to participation in this debate and actively engage young people, particularly those young people who face more challenging circumstances.

I am proud that the Scottish Youth Parliament has led the way in developing innovative ideas and methods to engage thousands of young people, in an impartial manner, pointing them to sources of information to help them make an informed decision for themselves. As an organisation, we have been out and about in schools, youth clubs, colleges and universities and city centres all over Scotland speaking to thousands of young people about why it’s important to vote.

The process and the level of participation, combined with extraordinary efforts to engage young people, is the real achievement from this referendum.

The task now is to build on this achievement. All of us have a responsibility to take the lessons, both positive and negative, and learn from them.

However, turning back to the vote itself, I want to encourage all young people to ensure that, regardless of their view, they turn out and vote. Historically, big decisions made by Governments and political parties have tended to disproportionally take into account the views of other demographics at the expense of young people. This is because those sections of society vote. If we want to have a say, if we want to be able to shape the future of our country, we must get out and vote.

In addition, there is a lot at stake. The Scottish Youth Parliament has long fought for the lowering of the voting age to 16. This has been an incredibly effective tool for engaging with young people for the referendum, as schools and colleges provide an invaluable forum in terms of accessibility. We want the voting age to continue to be 16 for all future elections. The eyes of the world are on Scotland, and the lowered voting age has been one of the most interesting topics for discussion. We have an opportunity to prove that when 16 and 17 year olds are given the right to vote, they will use it. If turn out is high, we have a mandate to secure the right for 16 and 17 year olds to vote in all future elections.

 
We have a once in a lifetime opportunity to build on what has been achieved through this process, to harness all of the positive young voter engagement work that has taken place over the last two years to ensure Scotland’s young people have their voices heard, as well as secure the right to vote for 16 and 17 year olds for all future elections. We all have a responsibility, so let’s work together and make it happen.

 

Youth Parliament Chair urges young people to get out and vote

September 17th, 2014

Scottish Youth Parliament Press Office

Wednesday 17th September

Youth Parliament Chair urges young people to get out and vote

 

©DN Anderson

The Chair of the Scottish Youth Parliament, Louise Cameron MSYP, has urged all young people to ensure they use their vote in the forthcoming referendum and that, regardless of the result, the real achievement of the referendum has been the process of engagement.

 

The Scottish Youth Parliament has been working on a large scale young voter engagement project from January 2014.

 

Speaking ahead the referendum, Cameron, only voting for the second time after the European elections in May, spoke of the significant amount of positive work that had gone in to engaging young voters, and of the need to harness this post-referendum in order to ensure the current efforts to engage young people continue for future elections.

 

Speaking ahead of the referendum, she said:

 

“Through this referendum hundreds of thousands of young people across Scotland will participate in a historic moment of self-determination where we will have our say about the future of our country. I would urge every young person to make sure they participate in this pivotal moment in Scottish history by voting.

 

This is the first time that 16 and 17 year olds are able to vote in a Scottish election. We have a responsibility to show that we take this right very seriously so as to ensure it is extended to all future elections.

 

For the last two years, Scotland has been on the most amazing journey of political engagement and civic participation. As a young person, I have been absolutely astounded at the amount of effort that has gone in from schools, colleges and universities, youth groups and other civic and voluntary organisations and the campaigns, to try and remove barriers to participation and actively engage young people, particularly those young people who face more challenging circumstances. I am proud that the Scottish Youth Parliament led the way in developing innovative ideas and methods to engage thousands of young people, in an impartial manner, pointing them to sources of information to help them make an informed decision for themselves.

 

The process and the level of participation, combined with extraordinary efforts to engage young people, is the real achievement of this referendum. We have a once in a lifetime opportunity to build on what has been achieved through this process, to harness all of the positive young voter engagement work that has taken place over the last two years to ensure Scotland’s young people have their voices heard. We all have a responsibility, so let’s work together and make it happen.”

 

 

Notes

1. All media enquiries to Stephanie Brown, Communications Officer, 07753 410676/ 0131 524 0818, stephanie.b@syp.org.uk
2. The Scottish Youth Parliament is democratically elected voice of Scotland’s young people.