This weekend, the Scottish Youth Parliament (SYP) will host its 57th Annual Sitting and Annual General Meeting in Renfrewshire.
Elected young people from all over Scotland will gather at Park Mains High School for what will be their first national Sitting as the newly elected membership of the Scottish Youth Parliament, following the recent SYP national elections which took place in March 2015, where a record number of votes were cast.
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 elect the new Board of Trustees and Committee Conveners, who will then lead the organisation 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.
Louise Cameron MSYP is the current Chair of the Scottish Youth Parliament. Following four years as an MSYP, Louise chose not to re-stand for election in 2015. Speaking ahead of the first Sitting of the 2015 membership, Louise said:
“I’m delighted that SYP will be in Renfrewshire for its 2015 AGM. This Sitting is one of the most important as we not only continue our important debates, training, and activities, but we elect our new Board of Trustees and Committee Conveners. As SYP is a youth-led organisation, these are the young people who will lead SYP for the next year.
“It has been so special being the Chair of such an outstanding organisation throughout such a momentous time in Scotland’s history. SYP has changed my life for the better, and I have gained so much from being a part of it, as well as feeling like I have made a positive difference for Scotland’s young people.
“Being an MSYP is a truly life-changing experience, and I would like to encourage the new membership to embrace every opportunity during their term. I am confident the new MSYPs will continue to build on the organisation’s success, and lead the way towards a fairer, more equal Scotland for young people.”
Renfrewshire Council Leader Mark Macmillan said: “Renfrewshire is pleased to be hosting the first National Sitting for the newly-elected MSYPs and I am sure the MSYPs are eager to get started on their first campaign – POVERTY: See It Change It.
“Tackling poverty is one of this council’s top priorities. We initiated the Renfrewshire Tackling Poverty Commission – the first of its kind in Scotland – because we wanted a fresh and independent approach to how we can break the poverty cycle. The Commission left a legacy of recommendations. Our ring-fenced poverty fund of £6m will help to deliver these and we’re finalising ambitious plans that will be implemented in coming months. I firmly believe this will make a real difference.
“I welcome tackling poverty being the focus of the Youth Parliament and look forward to working with our MSYPs on this issue – which is absolutely crucial to the life chances of future generations.”
Mark Dougan, MSYP-elect for Renfrewshire North West, said: “I’m really looking forward to the National Sitting and it is even more special because it takes place in my home town.
“Our next big campaign is POVERTY: See It Change It and I know this is one thing that many young people are concerned about. With one in five young people living in poverty in Scotland, I am hoping that we can get decision makers to listen to us and make a difference so no one has to live like that.”