Youth Voice: an occasional column
This month has been another successful one, with the usual Youth Voice meeting being very productive. We discussed the benefit of the new Mareel with Leah Irvine, who facilitated a focus group for the members. A big thanks to Leah. Many of us now have a better understanding of Mareel, not only what it is but what it is going to offer young people. During this month’s meeting we also finalised our open coastguard letter, which was published in a recent paper and sent to the Maritime Coastguard Agency chief executive. With our consultation well underway it is an exciting time for Youth Voice, so keep your eyes peeled for your Youth Representative appearing near you soon!
Beanfeast a hit
The Anderson High School’s senior beanfeast took place last month. Enjoyed by both S5 and S6 pupils and staff, the night lived up to expectations. Despite a few problems with props, including a collapsing wardrobe, the night went as planned and the massive efforts of the S6 pupils paid off. A huge thank you to anybody who helped in any way, I’m sure that everybody would agree that despite the delay, the night was worth waiting for!
Shetland Youth Bank re-launch
Recently, Shetland Youth Bank successfully applied for a grant to redevelop itself. Youth Bank Scotland is a national organisation which supports local youth banks in their decision-making concerning young people’s applications for small grants. As a way of gaining a better understanding of the ways in which other youth banks operate, myself and Nicole travelled down to Edinburgh for the Scottish Advisory Forum meeting.
During the weekend, we met several other Youth Bank Scotland decision-makers, participated in workshops and discussions and shared ideas with the group of young people. We also gained some accredited training on developed decision-making, the benefits of which we will be taking to the next youth bank meeting. It was an immensely enjoyable weekend and we now have a solid understanding of how to make sure that our new youth bank will be a success. We look forward to our youth bank training residential at the beginning of March and cannot wait to start publicising the newly revamped Shetland Youth Bank.
Emily Shaw, Nicole Mouat and Tavish Scott have been continuing on their trip around Shetland to consult with young people. Their most recent visits included Mid Yell School and the Anderson High School, both of which produced lively question and answer sessions. With only a few schools left, Nicole and Emily are gaining a good idea of the issues that are important to you as well as learning from Tavish and getting to meet lots of enthusiastic young people. Thanks to everybody who took part in the recent surgeries!
Up-Helly-A’s are go!
The 2011 Up-Helly-A’ season kicked off with a bang at Scalloway last month. Many young people took part in the event as usual. Kaylee and Diana were two of the young people attending the festival at the Scalloway Hall, a venue which attracted many other local young people. The night was a success, with one particular highlight being a dashing white sergeant which had the whole floor full of young people. The atmosphere and liveliness of the hall were fantastic and the event was extremely enjoyable and a great chance to celebrate Shetland’s culture at the same time as having a good dance. It goes without saying that the Jarl’s Squad suits were fantastic. It is safe to say that Scalloway pulled off a good show as per usual!
The Lerwick Up-Helly-A’ took place on the usual last Tuesday in January and was also the usual success. This year’s Guizer Jarl, John Hunter, and his squad put in a great deal of effort throughout the year to produce an absolutely wonderful suit. The weather held out long enough to give the Jarl’s Squad a beautiful morning for their parade through Lerwick and a fair night for the procession. Most squads put on an impressive performance at night showcasing some of Shetland’s dancing and acting talent! A big thank you has to be said to the Up-Helly-A’ committee, the guizers, the hosts and hostesses and everyone else who was involved, it was another fantastic year!
Diana Inskter and Kaylee Mouat
Young people share IT skills
“InIT” is a newly formed youth group which is coming together for the purpose of aiding older members of the public to develop their IT skills. The group meets every second week at the adult learning centre where, with the support of adult learning and youth services, they look at different aspects and areas of IT knowledge that will be taught during future workshops. The group is developing their communication and tutoring skills. These will be not only essential for working with the public but also beneficial for the future for the young people involved. At the present time, there are two youth clubs involved in this project, Sandwick Senior Youth Club and Scalloway Senior Youth Club.
The importance of debate
The Althing, as many readers will be aware, is a debating society which has been running in Tingwall since the 1950s. The prominence of Althing debates in Shetland is undeniable. For young people, public speaking skills are clearly important and an asset in the tough system of university applications and job interviews that they will eventually face. A few years ago secondary two and four pupils debated the situation in Afghanistan. As a young person who spoke at this debate and more recent ones including a liberal democracy debate, I would like to stress the importance of involving the young population in debating.
At Brae High School we have a debating society run by Irvine Tait and Jim Mainland, who do a tremendously good job. The society runs debates for all age ranges and pupils, routinely taking members on speaking workshops and to Althing debates. I wish to publicise the importance of these societies. One has existed in the past at the Anderson High School, and Sandwick School often sends debaters to regional and national competitions. At the present time, only Brae has a fully formed debating society. For the benefit of the young population of Shetland, a Shetland-wide revival could be possible. A good way of encouraging talented young people into debating as well as helping to ensure a strong future for the Althing would be to develop more school debating societies in Shetland. Your debating society needs you!
Wanted: young people’s opinions
Every member of Youth Voice represents young people from their area of Shetland. This means we have to express their views, not just our own, and so are in the process of carrying out a consultation to find out what those views are.
We are consulting in schools, youth clubs, colleges and any other place where young people meet. The questions we are asking are specific to important issues that are current or on-going in Shetland. These topics are important and as a group that represents young people, it is important for us to understand fully the views that we should be voicing and how to act on them. We are going to be asking as many young people as possible about renewable energy, more specifically Viking Energy’s proposed windfarm, and the controversial issue of the possible closure of Shetland Coastguard. We will also ask about recreational facilities in Shetland and try to gather the general consensus among young people concerning school closures.
So far the consultation has been very successful with some areas almost fully consulted. With only two more weeks to go, the consultation is well under way. After this process is over, all the views of Shetland’s young people will be made into a set of opinions, goals, values and aims that Youth Voice will aim for and stand by. Youth Voice aims to make a difference and with the results of this consultation, we can make that difference where you want it.
North Isles Christmas cards
Throughout December, Christmas cards were posted into postboxes located in the local shops of Yell and Unst. These cards were sorted by children and parents from the area into households, a time-consuming task with approximately 15,000 cards collected within Yell and an additional 5,000 from Unst. On 15th December children and parents from Mid Yell, Burravoe and Unst youth centres volunteered to hand-deliver the Christmas cards to each house. Despite the windy and snowy weather conditions, the event it was a great fund-raiser for the youth centres as well as being a great way to give something back into the community.
Update from your MSYP
As some of you may have read in the paper a couple of weeks ago, Shetland Youth Voice is against the closure of the Shetland Coastguard base in Lerwick and has written an open letter voicing our opinions. The next step of young people in Shetland’s representation against the proposal is to hold a members motion during the Scottish Youth Parliament sitting in March. Within the next few weeks, I will put forward a motion concerning the idea that there should be no coastguard closures in Scotland. The members will then have a chance to debate and vote on whether they agree or disagree with the motion. If the majority agree, it will become SYP policy. Let’s hope it all goes well! Keep checking the feature for updates on the topic, and finding out how we get on in March.
A new young carers group will start on Thursday 24th February 3.45pm at The Bruce Family Centre, Lovers Loan, Lerwick. The group will offer support, a place to meet other young carers and the opportunity to take part in an activity of your choice. If you care for a member of your family through ill health, disability, a mental health issue or through drug or alcohol dependency why not come along and share your ideas. For further information or a confidential chat call Jo Jack, VAS Support Worker on (01595) 743923.
Edited By Emily Shaw