Posts Tagged ‘syp’

Care.Fair.Share. – Kirsty McCahill MSYP

Thursday, 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 

Michael McNamara- My Experience as a Young Carer

Thursday, February 20th, 2014

Banner-Signed FinalI have been a young carer for around four years now and I enjoy the responsibilities which I take on. I look after my mother who has addiction issues. My day-to-day tasks can be extremely varied. I take on everyday chores such as checking the mail and cleaning the house, but sometimes my responsibilities become more of a challenge. There have been times where I have had to call for an ambulance because my mum has needed help.

As I mentioned, I do enjoy being a young carer and I take great pride in my role. However, sometimes it can also be very challenging. It can be exhausting, both physically and mentally. I am grateful for the level of support which I receive from my support worker and also my counsellor. They help ensure that I stay positive and do my best in my role, even through the challenging times.

I believe there is a lot that needs to be done to improve the standard of living for Scotland’s young carers. There is a lot of pressure on young people such as myself, and I feel that young carers are not recognised by key service providers across Scotland. I have been in situations where I have felt that there is very little recognition and knowledge of the extensive responsibilities and pressures facing young carers. Young carers need to be recognised and there must be accessible methods of support throughout Scotland.

As young people, we have a lot of big decisions facing us and therefore support is a crucial factor in ensuring we have access to the opportunities we wish to take on in order to live our lives to the full.

I have chosen to share my story in support of the Scottish Youth Parliament’s Care.Fair.Share. campaign. I believe in what the campaign stands for and the message that it doesn’t have to be like this. Care doesn’t have to mean compromise.

SYP are campaigning to alleviate the financial strain on young carers. In doing so the campaign is raising awareness of young carers like myself, who currently face compromise because of the responsibilities we take on in order to provide care and support for our loved ones. I’d like to encourage others to lend their support to this campaign and share your story. Make sure that young carers are visible and heard through this campaign and together we can make a significant change which will positively impact on the lives of these young people. You can pledge your support for Care.Fair.Share. by joining the SYP’s Thunderclap here.

Votes at 16 Announcement would be ‘A Seminal Moment for Scottish Democracy’

Wednesday, October 10th, 2012

Media outlets are reporting that as part of the agreement over the independence referendum,  the franchise will be determined by the Scottish Parliament.  The Scottish Government has made it clear it believes the franchise should be extended to 16 and 17-year-olds, and this agreement therefore paves the way for these young people to be able to vote in the referendum. However, the exact details of the agreement are yet to be revealed.

Grant Costello MSYP, Chair of the Scottish Youth Parliament, says:

“Allowing 16 and 17-year-olds to vote in the referendum would be a seminal moment for Scottish democracy.  Young people are the future of Scotland, and it’s entirely right they have their say on Scotland’s constitutional future.  SYP, along with NUS Scotland, have called on both the UK and Scottish Government’s to work together to make votes at 16 happen –we’re delighted that it appears this call has been listened to.

“However, the detail of this announcement will be very important.  There needs to be a clear commitment to ensure the process is in place for all 16-year-olds to be able to register to vote, ensuring every 16 and 17 year-old is given the chance to have their say on Scotland’s future.

“Allowing 16-year-olds to vote in this referendum will pave the way for the franchise to be extended in all future elections – after all, if we trust young people to vote on Scotland’s constitutional future, then we must surely see the case for allowing them to vote in all elections.”

SYP Elections Commission release report

Tuesday, September 25th, 2012

In 2011 the Scottish Youth Parliament held its most successful set of elections yet.  Almost 85,000 young people voted for their local MSYP.

The Scottish Youth Parliament wanted to improve on that figure, strengthen and enhance our election procedures still further to ensure our elections were robust and could engage even more young people.  To that end we established an Independent Commission to examine how our elections should be conducted in future.  The Commission was headed by Strathclyde University elections expert Professor John Curtice and reported back to the Board of Trustees of the Scottish Youth Parliament in August 2012.

The Scottish Youth Parliament has accepted the recommendations of the Independent Commission, and will look to implement their recommedations in time for next years SYP Elections, where they hope to engage 100,000 young people with the elections.

Commission Report

The Independent Elections Commission recommended radical changes to the way in which elections to the Scottish Youth Parliament (SYP) are conducted. Amongst its key recommendations are:

  • all young people should have the opportunity to vote for their local Member of the Scottish Youth Parliament (MSYP).
  • the voting age  should be reduced from 14 to 12
  • use of the Single Transferable Vote (STV) proportional electoral system throughout Scotland rather than a mixture of STV and first past the post.
  • SYP constituencies should be based on local authority rather than Scottish Parliament boundaries
  • greater use of internet voting
  • opening up meetings of the Parliament to the wider public

Chaired by Strathclyde University elections expert, Professor John Curtice, the commission was asked by the SYP to conduct a thorough review of how its MSYPs are elected. Although more young people than ever before, 84,490, voted in the Parliament’s most recent election, held in March 2011, this still only represented one in ten of all those eligible to vote. Meanwhile there continue to be substantial differences in the way MSYPs are elected in different parts of Scotland.

The Commission’s proposals are designed to foster higher participation in SYP elections and ensure that throughout Scotland MSYPs are elected via a common, robust, more proportional process.

Professor Curtice said,

‘Since its formation in 1999, the Scottish Youth Parliament has made substantial strides towards becoming a body whose members have a clear electoral mandate and can claim to be representative of Scotland’s young people as a whole.  However, there is a need for further progress, not least in promoting turnout, in ensuring the Parliament’s elections are robust against fraud, and in holding its elections using a common set of rules. Achieving this will require a willingness to think afresh about past practice and to accept change for the benefit of the Parliament and the young people of Scotland as a whole. A vibrant, democratic Youth Parliament that engages the young people of Scotland in the political process is a prize well worth having.’

The SYP Elections Commission Report can be read here.

Scottish Youth Parliament Response

On the 25th of September the SYP Elections Commission Report was published.  The Scottish Youth Parliament released a statement and a response welcoming the report, and agreeing to implement the changes proposed by the commission.

The only area where the changes were not to be initially implemented in full was on the upper age limit for elections.  The SYP Board would like to make greater efforts to engage with older SYP voters in the run-up to the 2013 elections – and then to rexamine whether the franchise needs to be lowered to 21.

Speaking after the report was published, SYP Chair Grant Costello says:

“It’s clear the independent elections commission have produced a very substantial report, which challenges the Scottish Youth Parliament to reform the way we conduct our elections.  It would be easy for SYP to rest on our laurels after getting nearly 85,000 votes in our last elections. Instead we will choose to accept the recommendations of the commission in full.

“The challenge for SYP now is to implement these changes, to create a better elections system, and to aim to get more than 100,000 votes in our next election in 2013.”

The Scottish Youth Parliament’s response to the Elections Commission report can be read here


For more information about the SYP Elections Commission go to


Scotland’s young people call for ‘One Fair Wage’ to help fight against poverty

Wednesday, September 12th, 2012

“I pledge to support the One Fair Wage campaign. I believe everyone in Scotland, no matter how old they are, should earn at least a Scottish Living Wage based on how much it costs to live.”

Today, 12th September 2012, the Scottish Youth Parliament (SYP) launched a new national campaign, ‘One Fair Wage’ calling on politicians, businesses, councils and charities to pledge their support for the Scottish Living Wage.

SYP believe everyone in Scotland deserve to earn at least enough to live on.  We believe it’s obscene for people to be working whilst still trapped in poverty.  We believe a Scottish Living Wage can make a real difference to half a million low-paid Scots.

A Scottish Living Wage won’t solve all the problems causing poverty in Scotland.  But without decent wages which allow low paid workers a decent standard of living we’ll never win the battle.

Over the next year the Scottish Youth Parliament will call on politicians, businesses, councils and charities to pledge their support for a Scottish Living Wage.  It’s time for a better and fairer approach to pay in Scotland.  It’s time for One Fair Wage

The campaign has already received support from The Scottish Government, the Scottish Labour Party, UNISON and Save the Children.  The year-long campaign will focus on a grass-roots approach by Members of the Scottish Youth Parliament (MSYPs) directly engaging with their local councils and businesses to convince them everyone in Scotland deserves a fair living wage.

Grant Costello MSYP, SYP Chair, says:

“Scotland’s young people today launch a campaign to tackle one of the root causes of poverty – low wages.  Far too many workers are being paid wages which are far too low to live on.  It’s unacceptable for poor workers to be reliant on foodbanks and charity.  It’s unacceptable for young workers to be paid as little as £3.68 an hour.  It’s unacceptable for the children of working families to be living in poverty. A Scottish Living Wage can make a huge difference to their lives.


“This is not a campaign about political process.  It’s about organisations making a moral and economic choice to pay their workers a Scottish Living Wage.  That’s the message MSYPs will be taking out across Scotland today – that’s what One Fair Wage is all about.”


Angela Constance MSP, Scottish Government Minister for Youth Employment says:

“Living wage is an important part of a package of Scottish Government policies to support sustainable employment and tackle poverty.  We have demonstrated our full support for the principles of the living wage in Scotland and are leading by example by implementing the living wage through Scottish public sector pay, with the majority of local authorities also implementing the policy.


“We support discussion on this important issue and we are using our consultation on the Procurement Reform Bill to seek stakeholders’ views on promoting the living wage.  This consultation closes on 2 November 2012 and we look forward to receiving responses from all sectors, young people and from Members of the Scottish Youth Parliament.”


Kez Dugdale MSP, Labour’s Shadow Youth Employment Minister says:

“I congratulate the Scottish Youth Parliament once again for the tremendous leadership they’ve demonstrated in picking a priority campaign which will not only helps young Scots, but also speaks to the values of a nation that they want to build and be proud of.


“Two thirds of the children living in poverty come from working households. Work simply has to pay if we want to live in a more equal and fair society, and I look forward to working very closely with SYP to turn that dream into a reality.”


Dave Watson, UNISON Scottish Organiser says:

“UNISON welcomes the launch of the Scottish Youth Parliament’s One Fair Wage campaign. A living wage allows workers to provide for themselves and their families. It’s also good for the economy, as low paid workers spend more with local businesses. Everyone gains by moving away from the low wage economy.”


Douglas Hamilton, Head of Save the Children in Scotland, says:

“Children should not be bearing the brunt of the recession. Poverty is tearing families apart, with parents buckling under the pressure of mounting bills and children seeing their parents argue more about money. It’s inexcusable that this is happening in Scotland in 2012.

“It’s great to see the support of the Scottish Youth Parliament for fair wages. Given nearly half of children living in poverty in Scotland have at least one parent in work, it is truly appalling those parents can’t earn enough to give themselves and their kids a decent life. The Scottish Government must do more by supporting parents into work, making work pay by promoting the Scottish Living Wage, providing extra childcare and protecting the poorest and most disadvantaged from further cuts.”

A Letter of Thanks from The Scottish Youth Parliament

Thursday, July 26th, 2012

26th July 2012

Dear Ms. Sturgeon,

A Letter of Thanks from the Scottish Youth Parliament

I would like to take this opportunity on behalf of all MSYPs and the young people of Scotland to say thank you to you and to the Scottish Government as a whole for taking the historic step to legislate for same-sex marriage in Scotland.

Through our campaign, Love Equally, tens of thousands of young people have voiced their support for equal marriage. Young people across the length and breadth of Scotland have told us that they believe in the very simple message of our campaign – two people who love each other should be able to get married.

We thank the Scottish Government for listening to the views of its young people, not only sending an extremely strong and positive message rooted in equality but also showing young people that by engaging in the democratic process they can bring about real change.

The Scottish Youth Parliament understands that this announcement comes at the beginning of an important legislative process and we very much look forward to doing all that we can to assist this process, ensuring that the views of young people continue to be heard. There is still much to do and we urge the UK and Scottish Governments to work together to make any necessary changes to the Equality Act as soon as possible, so that equal marriage can be made a reality in Scotland without delay.

Yours sincerely,

Grant Costello MSYP
Chair, Scottish Youth Parliament

SYP ‘Very Disappointed at Delay on Equal Marriage’

Tuesday, July 17th, 2012

The Scottish Youth Parliament today, Tuesday 17th July 2012 expressed their disappointment on behalf of Scotland’s young people at the Scottish Government’s decision to further delay their announcement on Equal Marriage.

The Scottish Government consultation on same-sex marriage closed on the 9th of December 2011, the Scottish Government had previously indicated there would be an announcement in March, June and the tenth of July before today’s further delay.

Grant Costello MSYP, Scottish Youth Parliament Chair says:
“It’s very disappointing the Scottish Government has once again delayed the decision to publish the consultation results, and reveal their own plans for Equal Marriage. It’s time to halt the hold-ups, end the delays, and put a stop to the speculation. Scotland’s young people have made their view clear, they deserve an answer from Scotland’s Government.

“Let’s be clear, now is the time for Equal Marriage. A majority of MSPs are in favour. A majority of Scots, and an overwhelming majority of Scotland’s youth, support Equal Marriage. It’s time for the Scottish Government to stop the dither and delay, to listen to the clear message being sent by Scotland’s young people, and to make Equal Marriage a reality for Scotland.”

SYP ‘Very Disappointed at Delay’

Tuesday, July 17th, 2012

The Scottish Youth Parliament today expressed their disappointment on behalf of Scotland’s young people at the Scottish Government’s decision to further delay their announcement on Equal Marriage.

The Scottish Government Consultation on same-sex marriage closed on the 9th of December 2011, the Scottish Government had previously indicated there would be an announcement in June 2012.

Grant Costello, Scottish Youth Parliament Chair says:

“It’s very disappointing the Scottish Government has once again delayed the decision to publish the consultation results, and reveal their own plans for Equal Marriage. It’s time to halt the hold-ups, end the delays, and put a stop to the speculation. Scotland’s young people have made their view clear, they deserve an answer from Scotland’s Government. “Let’s be clear, now is the time for Equal Marriage. A majority of MSPs are in favour. A majority of Scots, and an overwhelming majority of Scotland’s youth, support Equal Marriage. It’s time for the Scottish Government to stop the dither and delay, to listen to the clear message being sent by Scotland’s young people, and to make Equal Marriage a reality for Scotland.” ENDS Notes to Editors 1. All Media Enquiries to Ewan MacDonald, SYP Parliamentary & Press Officer, on 07753 410676 or

Scottish Youth Parliament Vote for Equal Pay Campaign

Friday, June 29th, 2012

Today, 29th June 2012, the Scottish Youth Parliament has voted to campaign on Equal Pay for the next year.  58% of Members of the Scottish Youth Parliament decided that the priority for SYP would be to campaign for an equal Scottish Living Wage of at least £7 per person for all people.

Currently young people under 21 receive a lower minimum wage – the Scottish Youth Parliament believe that should also be abolished, and all workers, regardless of age, should receive the same basic wage.  However, in these difficult economic times it is clear the current minimum wage is not sufficient, and therefore everyone should be entitled to a Scottish Living Wage of £7.00.

Last June the Scottish Youth Parliament selected Love Equally as the national campaign.  The campaign has been a huge success with highlights including a 1000-person march to the Scottish Parliament, contributing to the thousands of submissions to the Scottish Government consultation, and winning Campaign of the Year at the Scottish Charity Awards.

Today’s vote means Equal Pay is now the national campaign priority for the Scottish Youth Parliament, alongside Love Equally and the campaign for votes at 16.

Hamira Khan, Scottish Youth Parliament Chief Executive, says:

“Scotland’s young people have clearly said they believe it’s time for everyone, regardless of age, to receive a fair Scottish Living Wage. to be changed.  Today’s vote shows young Scots have a vision for a better and fairer Scotland.  An Equal Wage will challenge both inequality and poverty.  It demands young people are fairly rewarded for their work, and demonstrates that their work is just as valuable as someone a few years older.

Scotland’s young people have spoken, and the Scottish Youth Parliament will take up this challenge, and campaign to ensure Scotland’s leaders sit up and listen to our campaign for Equal Pay.”

Laura Speaks to Channel 4 on Equal Marriage

Friday, February 10th, 2012

By Laura McLachlan, MSYP for LGBT Youth Scotland

I recently had the opportunity to go down to London to film with Channel 4 as part of their 4thought series from a young person’s perspective on Equal Marriage. This was a great day and also special that I got to put my views across on the campaigns that I have been working on for the past two years. The interview was about my views and what I thought about the religious bodies being opposed to same-sex marriage and also about how I felt about marriage as an individual from the LGBT community. As you will see from my interview I have always wanted a white wedding but also I see that if religious bodies are opposed to performing same-sex marriage then they should not be forced to do so. Check out my interview and the other interviews from the series by clicking here .

As a representative for LGBT National Youth Council we have been working on our campaign called M.E 2 (Marriage Equality 2) we have held a symposium in partnership with the Equality Network, held a photo petition on Equal Marriage and also a 10k run to raise awareness of Equal Marriage.

Becoming an MSYP was a great opportunity for me to get the young people’s voice’s heard and the main issue that was arising was Marriage Equality and when the ‘Love Equally’ campaign became SYP’s national campaign. I was so proud to be a part of both organisations fighting for the same cause. Love Equally has gained so much support around Scotland and also hit the headlines in many news rooms across Scotland and the publicity towards the campaign has been great in many areas clearly showing that young people’s voice’s are being listened too.

2011 ended with a massive push to ensure a massive positive response to the Scottish Government’s consultation on same-sex marriage and with over 50,000 responses I think we did a pretty decent job! 2012 kicked off with a busy start and I have been spreading the word a lot about Equal Marriage and also doing a few other bits and pieces for LGBT Youth Scotland.

In October I also spoke at a fringe event at the SNP Conference in Inverness alongside Austin Sheridan MSYP which was sponsored by Alyn Smith MEP. We spoke about the Love Equally campaign and I also presented a speech to represent young people’s views on the subject of marriage. We then had a question-and-answer session where the people got to ask us questions or give us there thoughts on marriage. The event was packed full of MSPs, journalists and members of the public and we had a few negative comments but all in all the event went really well and we got so many supporters from it.

The Love Equally and M.E 2 campaigns have brought Scotland to a place of better understanding of equality and what needs to change and hopefully in the not too distant future it will change. As an MSYP I hope that we all keep up the hard work and maintain the belief that Scotland will change, keep campaigning and educate people on the issues that young people face every day. Hope you are all excited for the Love Equally March on Valentine’s Day and of course the March sitting and hope to see you all there! :)