Research Finds Scotland’s Young Carers are Continually Facing Financial Hardship

August 28th, 2014

Scottish Youth Parliament Press Office

Research Finds Scotland’s Young Carers are Continually Facing Financial Hardship


Lauren and Ryan

The Scottish Youth Parliament has published a research report exploring the challenging financial circumstances facing Scotland’s young carers, as well as the impact of caring responsibilities on their opportunities in education, social development, and emotional wellbeing.

The findings of the research report, ‘A Costly Youth: The Impact of Caring on Young People in Scotland,’ highlights concerning levels of anxiety and pressure. Many young people with caring responsibilities feel like their future opportunities and emotional wellbeing are compromised as a result of serious financial pressures. Financial concerns have been found to have a very direct and negative impact on the majority of respondents’ further and higher education experience.

Many of Scotland’s young people who have caring responsibilities are unable to access the same opportunities as their peers, and as a result of financial circumstances, are facing a standard of living crisis.

Speaking about the publication of the research, Louise Cameron, Chair of the Scottish Youth Parliament, said:

“I am delighted that the Scottish Youth Parliament has conducted and published this youth-led research that highlights the hardship and daily challenges Scotland’s young carers are facing.

“Although modest in scale, this research seeks to highlight serious gaps in information about young carers. I hope the findings of this report will prompt wider discussions with Government, local authorities, and the wider third sector about how we address these issues together.

“There is a significant lack of recognition and awareness of the challenges facing those with caring responsibilities. Specifically, more needs to be done to address the needs of Scotland’s young adult carers, whose struggles too often go unnoticed.”

Lauren King, a young carer and Member of the Scottish Youth Parliament for Motherwell and Wishaw, said:

“As a young carer myself, I have to balance caring, attending university, and doing part-time work to make ends meet. It is extremely difficult when your financial situation dictates that a part-time job must be your priority. Young carers like myself always have to compromise.

“These struggles are very often underestimated and the extent of their impact deserves much more visibility and recognition than is currently given. It is time that a real and lasting change is made to get a fairer deal for young carers.”

Louise Morgan from the Scottish Young Carers Services Alliance and Carers Trust said:

“We are delighted that the Scottish Youth Parliament conducted this research and we welcome the publication of this report.  Not only does it highlight the financial hardship which young carers face, but also demonstrates the cost in terms of compromising their education and development.

“Our Alliance of young carers services supports over 4,000 young carers.  We hope that bringing these issues to the fore will encourage decision makers to make better provision for young carers, so that they can make the best of their education and their lives outside of caring.”

Youth organisations launch dedicated young voter week

August 16th, 2014

RSV  logoScottish Youth Parliament Press Office 

Youth organisations launch dedicated young voter week

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Vice Chair Update July 2014 – Terri Smith MSYP

August 7th, 2014

Terri Smith MSYPHello fellow MSYPs, I’m excited to be sending out my very first Vice Chair update. I would just like to start off by saying a massive thank you for allowing me to stand and address you all in my candidacy speech, and of course for electing me as your Vice Chair- it’s going to be a fantastic year ahead.

Since SYP54 in Shetland, I’ve been gradually getting used to my new role and learning something new every day. On Tuesday 22nd and Wednesday 23rd July, your new Board Members met together for the very first time to take part in Board training. It was a fantastic two days of learning more about SYP and the roles of the wonderful staff team, as well as a fantastic opportunity to bond together as a group and discuss the key things we would like to achieve this year. As Trustees, we were all assigned with our portfolios for the year, which are as follows:

  • Louise Cameron MSYP, Chair – No specific portfolio – overall responsibility for organisation.
  • Terri Smith MSYP, Vice Chair – Responsible for UK & International work and joint responsibility for communications in addition to other duties.
  • David McLaughlin MSYP, Trustee – Lead Board Member for Public Affairs and the Procedures Group.
  • Rachael McCully MSYP, Trustee – Lead Board Member for Youth Engagement.
  • Sian Hughes MSYP, Trustee – Lead Board Member for Local Authorities & Voluntary Organisations.
  • David Stewart MSYP, Trustee – Lead Board Member for Projects.

While July has been a busy month, it has also been was used to recover from Shetland and settle into our new roles. I hope this time next month there will be even more exciting news around what I’ve been doing as Vice Chair.


Locally, I have started to collate the data from my local consultation on, “if you had one wish for the local area what would it be?” This was exciting as it allowed me to initiate discussion with so many young people about what matters to them the most. I also ran ten different engagement sessions locally and finally hit my personal target of registering over 100 young people to vote.

July was a fantastic month for me locally and young people were really at the forefront of the work I’ve been taking on. Therefore, I would like to take a moment to thank all of my constituents for their continued support.

Terri’s Corner

I’d like to introduce this section with my personal favourite inspirational quote – “Be the change you wish to see in the world” – Mahatma Gandhi.

Remember to laugh…

Thank you for all the jokes which have been submitted to me. There were some real ‘belters’, but I have chosen the ones that made me laugh the most. Thumbs up to the following MSYPs and I hope they make you laugh like me.

  • Mason Rowan MSYP – A man walks into a bar with a roll of tarmac under his arm. “Pint please”, he asks, “And one for the road.”
  • Chris Smith MSYP – “What do you call a dead parrot?” – Polygone
  • Grant Macleod MSYP – “Two TV aerials met on the roof and fell in love. The wedding was terrible, but the reception was great.”
  • Jordan Linden MSYP – “Why are seagulls called seagulls? Because if they landed on the bay, they’d be bagels?”


Once again, there has been some incredible work going on over the last month and I would like to give a quick mention to the following MSYPs for their efforts:

  • Louise Cameron MSYP –  not only was Louise elected as our Chair but she made the entire organisation feel incredibly proud when she sang at the opening ceremony of the Commonwealth Games.
  • Jamie MacLeod MSYP and Martyna Napierskaa MSYP both attended the UKYP Sitting in Lancaster representing the young people of Scotland.
  • Nairn McDonald MSYP was successfully elected as the Conveners’ Representative on the Board.
  • Struan King MSYP and Robbie Nicoll MSYP presented a successful Members Motion on PSHE at SYP54.
  • Nicola Bruley MSYP presented a successful Members Motion on banning smoking in cars with children at SYP54.

Those are just some of the incredible things MSYPs have been up to over the last month.

Keep up the fantastic work

I would finally just like to say a massive well done to all the MSYPs who have volunteered at Glasgow 2014, well done to all the new Conveners and Deputy Conveners, Members of the Scottish Youth Parliament, and anyone who has volunteered their time and effort in the last month.

That’s all from me for the lovely month of July. I hope you all enjoy the rest of your summer holidays and as always, any questions, queries or comments, feel free to get in contact with me.

Terri Smith MSYP

Vice Chair of the Scottish Youth Parliament


Care.Fair.Share. – Kirsty McCahill MSYP

July 31st, 2014

Kirsty McCahill MSYPIn January 2014, the Scottish Youth Parliament launched the Care.Fair.Share. campaign – a campaign which aims to make life fairer for young carers. Members of the Scottish Youth Parliament (MSYPs) have been campaigning across the country to raise awareness of the campaign and make a difference to the lives of Scotland’s dedicated young people who sacrifice their own time to help the lives of others.

John Scott MSP supportIn my constituency, I have been campaigning alongside Kate Fleming MSYP and Mason Rowan MSYP. We collectively met with South Ayrshire’s Young Adult Carers to inform them of the campaign and find out more about their everyday lives. They highlighted some of the problems and struggles that they face day-to-day which gave us an understanding of just how hard the life of a young carer can be. This also allowed us to find out what personally affects young adult carers in our area and we can now work to improve these issues.

I sent out emails to our local MSPs seeking their support and requesting to meet with them to discuss the campaign further. I received in reply kind words of support from many and was able to arrange a meeting with John Scott MSP and Chic Brodie MSP. Kate, Mason, and I met with them and spoke of the aims of the campaign, along with the issues that were highlighted to us by South Ayrshire’s Young Adult Carers, and afterwards, they showed their support by signing the Care.Fair.Share pledgeboard.

As for the future, we plan to hold a Care.Fair.Share. event to promote the campaign and share our efforts andChic Brodie MSP Support 2 successes so far. We also hope to meet with the younger carers of South Ayrshire, once they begin to meet again after the summer, to talk about the campaign, find out about their everyday problems and discuss how we can make things better, easier, and fairer for them.

As the campaign states, care doesn’t have to mean compromise, and I’m incredibly proud that as an organisation, we are making this a reality. Young carers are an integral and valuable part of our society and we are doing all we can to make sure they do not suffer due to financial stress and government policy. It is unjust that these hardworking and selfless young people face such challenges simply because they devote their time to caring for others. It is also essential that pursuing further education and engaging in social activities is made more manageable for young carers as this is a fundamental part of a young person’s life. Everyone deserves an equal chance.

So it’s time for change. To make things better. To make things fairer. Together, we can make a difference.

-Kirsty McCahill MSYP 

A Month in the Life of an MSYP – Jordan Linden MSYP

July 28th, 2014

The life of an MSYP can be very busy at times and I’m delighted to share a snapshot of the work that an MSYP can get involved in.

The past four weeks have been particularly busy with the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games beginning and a range of other events taking place throughout the month.

Last month, I took part in the Cross Party Group on Volunteering. This was a great opportunity to participate in a discussion about volunteering and what volunteering opportunities there are for people, in particular, young people across Scotland. Convener Margaret McDougall MSP and Deputy Convener Annabelle Ewing MSP, along with the CPG, were delighted to hear an MSYP’s perspective on volunteering and the benefit that these opportunities carry for young people.

JL YouthCab eventOn June 20th 2014, I joined with fellow MSYPs, Young Scot Representatives, and young people from across the country, at a Scottish Government Youth Cabinet event. The First Minister and his Cabinet Secretaries met with young people to hold intimate discussion groups on issues relating to the independence referendum. This was a fantastic opportunity to engage directly with the key decision makers in Scotland, and access the opportunity to ask the questions that young people across Scotland want to the know the answers too.

At a local level, earlier this month, I was delighted to be invited along as the inspirational speaker at the North Lanarkshire Council Saltire Awards Evening. I joined with young volunteers from across the local area to share my volunteering story and to inspire others to keep doing what they are doing. These young people really inspired me – they give up hours of their life to contribute to our communities. Some volunteers had given up as many as 500 hours to their communities. I was privileged to receive an honorary 700 hours Saltire Certificate for the work I’ve done. This is an example of the power that volunteering can have and an example of how great it is to be an MSYP – you can champion and inspire others to keep doing the work they do, and encourage others to start volunteering, as it could be the best thing they ever do!JL saltire award

July began with a bang as MSYPs from across the country joined together in Lerwick, Shetland, for the 54th National Sitting of the Scottish Youth Parliament, kindly hosted by Shetland Islands Council. MSYPs had incredible debates, an independence hustings, held our Annual General Meeting, and spent time together. We also had a great journey to and from Shetland and had fun documenting it on Twitter with #SYP54Ferry – what an experience! Sittings are key to an MSYP’s role and it is an opportunity for everyone to get together, to debate and form policy, but also to see each other.

JL London
Last week, Thomas Mair MSYP, Thomas McEachan MSYP, Assad Khan MSYP, and I all attended the All Party Parliamentary Group on Youth Affairs Annual General Meeting and discussion on access to low cost housing. We travelled to the meeting with the support of our partners at the British Youth Council and it was a really interesting event, allowing us to hear the perspectives of young people from across the United Kingdom.

Finally, I was privileged to visit the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games Athletes’ Village along with friends from Young Scot. Ahead of the Commonwealth Games, we met with friend of the Scottish Youth Parliament and ex-First Minister, Lord Jack McConnell, and Chieftain of the Village, athlete and gladiator, Shirley Addison, as well as representatives of Team Scotland. It was absolutely inspiring and exciting to be at the heart of Glasgow 2014.

I hope that I’ve been able to demonstrate the range of activities that MSYPs participate in and the difference that our roles can make to communities across Scotland. I believe MSYPs play a crucial role in empowering other young people to participate in local democracy and encourage them to become active citizens.

With the SYP elections in the near future, I hope that the examples I have highlighted will share just a quick glimpse at the amazing opportunities, events, and ultimately the contribution that you – as a future MSYP – could make to the lives of young people across Scotland.

Being an MSYP has changed my life, it has given me the confidence to be the person I am today and the skills to empower and inspire others to go better, think bigger, and help make a difference in your community. What a brilliant experience it has been.

- Jordan Linden MSYP

East Dunbartonshire’s Youth Summit Event – Rachel Crawford MSYP

July 17th, 2014

It all started in February, when the Membership of East Dunbartonshire Youth Council were presented with the idea of hosting a ‘Youth Summit’. The aim was to improve political literacy with students in the area. In short, we wanted the day to be about engaging and informing our constituents about local issues, and most importantly, about the upcoming independence referendum. So, early this June – after hours and hours of planning – that’s what we did.

We invited a group of around twenty S5 and S6 pupils from each of the eight secondary schools in East Dunbartonshire, along with some locally elected members (who came to see the event unfold), for an action-packed day filled with different sessions. We held a session on the process of voting itself, and afterwards held a mock-vote using ballot boxes. We had speeches on ‘The Importance of Democracy’ from two members of a debating club from a local school who have recently won a televised debating competition. We held our own Aye Naw Mibbe sessions with groups of pupils, and afterwards discussed local issues concerning education, health, transport, and recreation with them. Then to finish off, we had a fantastic independence debate, where our constituents put forward their own questions to the panel – which consisted of two speakers from both Yes Scotland and Better Together. Empowering young people was a big theme of the day, so we found it important that each of the two campaigns included a young person as a speaker, giving the debate an honest opinion of how they felt independence would affect them as young people.

One of my favourite sessions of the day was the Aye Naw Mibbe session. All members of the Youth Council had been given training in how to run these sessions, so we divided off into groups and carried out an Aye Naw Mibbe session by ourselves. I was fortunate to have a really engaged and enthusiastic group, which made running this part of day even better. There was some fascinating debate and a lot of great ideas circulating during the part of the session where we asked the question, “If you were in power for a day, what would you change?” As well as having invited locally elected members, members of the SYP staff team were in attendance giving young people, including myself, the opportunity to register to vote. It was eye-opening to see how many young people there didn’t realise that they had to register to vote, and those who just hadn’t gotten around to it. It was an amazing feeling to know that most of the young people in attendance are now registered to vote, as it’s such a huge part of what will be their first ever opportunity to vote.

At the beginning and end of the day, we held short interactive voting sessions, where the use of voting pads allowed our constituents to tell us how informed they felt about registering to vote and how to vote. When the young people were asked at the end of the day, “Do you now feel more informed about how to vote?” an incredible 99% of them voted ‘yes’ – meaning our efforts in delivering the Aye Naw Mibbe session, along with the mock ballot, had helped the majority of them feel more confident in the process of voting. Also, when they were asked, “Do you now feel more capable of making an informed decision when voting in the referendum?” an amazing 83% voted yes – indicating that the independence debate helped answer a great deal of their questions.

I feel incredibly proud of the East Dunbartonshire Youth Council for the huge effort that we made in order to make this day a success – alongside the wonderful SYP Youth Engagement Team, who offered a great deal of support. Being part of our Youth Council and making an impact on the political involvement and interest of our constituents gives me a great deal of pride – and I’m sure other youth forums looking to do something similar would feel the same too.

Rachel Crawford MSYP

Youth Democracy Elects New Young Leaders

July 9th, 2014

Scottish Youth Parliament Press Office

Youth Democracy Elects New Young Leaders

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

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

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

At the Sitting, Members of the Scottish Youth Parliament elected the new Board of Trustees and Committee Conveners, who will lead the SYP over the next year. As a youth-led organisation, the AGM is a hugely significant occasion which forms the foundation of the SYP’s core values and structure, truly empowering Scotland’s young people.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Louise Cameron MSYP, Chair of the Scottish Youth Parliament

Louise Cameron MSYP, Chair of the Scottish Youth Parliament

Terri Smith MSYP, Vice Chair of the Scottish Youth Parliament

Terri Smith MSYP, Vice Chair of the Scottish Youth Parliament

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

July 5th, 2014

MSYPs, Ladies and Gentlemen,


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


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


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


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


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


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


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

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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


So Thank You and Goodbye.

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

July 5th, 2014

Hello everyone!


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


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


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


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


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


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


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



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


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


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


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


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


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


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


Thank you.

Nicola Pringle MSYP – Care.Fair.Share.

July 4th, 2014

Scotboarders MSYPs CFSOn Thursday 26th June, Finlay Duff MSYP and I took the motion, “That Scottish Borders Council, in support of the Scottish Youth Parliament’s national campaign, ‘Care,Fair,Share.’, and their ambitions for young carers (1) invites the Council’s Education Committee to receive for its consideration an updated Young Carers Strategy for the years 2014-2017, and (2) asks the Leader to write to the Minister for Transport, Keith Brown MSP, expressing Scottish Borders support for a review of concessionary transport to account for the needs and circumstances of young carers” to council in hope it would be passed.

The motion had been prepared earlier with the help of Scott Redmond, after a meeting with Action for Children who helped us understand exactly what it was that young carers needed. The motion was led by Councillor Graham Garvie, who is also our Children and Young People’s Champion. The motion was then seconded by Councillor Sandy Aitchison.

Both and Finlay and I spoke about the motion and why it was so critical to young carers. We had several comments from councillors stating that they were not aware of how the EMA system works and the difficulty it caused young carers. We were questioned on what parts of the motion we would like to be in the Young People’s Strategy Plan, and praised for bringing such an important issue to the council. The motion was passed and we cannot wait to see it being taken forward. I am very proud to have been part of this, and hopefully see an improvement in Young Carers’ lives.

Nicola Pringle MSYP