On December 15, I along with fellow SYP trustees visited four wonderful organisations with the Scottish Government Minister for Childcare and Early Years, Maree Todd MSP and Together, the Scottish Alliance for Children’s Rights. This was the final part of SYP’s #RightsRoadTrip.
Throughout the day we chaired sessions with organisations that fight to protect the rights of children and young people in a whole host of ways. I was first up to chair a session, with the first organisation being the Coalition for Racial Equality and Rights Scotland. It was particularly interesting to hear about the work they have been doing to protect the rights of young people from black and minority ethnicity backgrounds.
We must, as a Youth Parliament and as a society, pursue the cause for effective engagement with young people across Scotland to ensure we start to make a change to what is still a societal normality: racial discrimination and prejudice.
To end our fantastic day our last visit was to Who Cares? Scotland. This was perhaps the most impactful session as we got to meet and speak with care experienced young people who truly have incredible stories and journeys to share. I found it both heart-warming and heart-breaking at times as we heard from young people who are back living with their parents and young people who have recently been informed that their residential home will be closing and they will effectively be homeless in March. I left in awe and in complete admiration of these incredibly brave and strong young people.
I had a very interesting meeting with Roanna (support worker for Argyll & Bute MSYPs) and with my fellow Argyll & Bute MSYP Ailie Stewart in December. Ailie has recently returned home from a few months volunteering and teaching children in India so we felt it was important to meet up and establish where we are and how we wish to move forward this year. Ailie, following on from her campaign manifesto, discussed the possibility of having a LGBTQ+ event in Argyll & Bute this year, to fit in with 2018 Year of Young People. I am delighted to support Ailie in this endeavour as I feel it is something many young people across Argyll & Bute are at a disadvantage with. There are very little LGBTQ+ groups and many young people who would like to be a part of one often find them unaccessible.
Another item discussed at the meeting was mental health first aid training for young people. We are working with Roanna to find out about applying for and secured finding for Argyll & Bute, which is already underway. This was an issue high up on my agenda throughout my re-election campaign and I am exciting to be working on it. There is a lot of work going on and I look forward to an exciting year ahead and continuing to represent the great young people of Argyll & Bute. I wish everyone a lovely 2018.