Shetland MSYPs Kaylee Mouat and Kelvin Anderson have championed the views of local youths for the campaign year ahead.
The vote on issues important to young people comes ahead of a meeting of the UK Youth Parliament on 11th November at the House of Commons in London.
Every year young politicians from around the country come together to debate five issues chosen by a UK wide ballot of 11 to 18 year olds. In Shetland 975 young people participated in the ballot – a 54.5 per cent increase on 2015.
The five issues which the UKYP will debate this year are: a curriculum to prepare for life; tackling racism and religious discrimination; transport; votes at 16; and cuts that affect the NHS.
At the end of the debate members will vote to decide which two issues should become the UKYP’s priority campaigns for the year ahead.
Votes in Shetland were this year championed by local MSYPs Kelvin and Kaylee.
Kaylee said: “We are absolutely delighted to announce that Shetland’s young people had a massive voice in this vote. An amazing 43 per cent of young people aged 11-18 in Shetland voted. Shetland was 16th in the top 20 regions represented based on percentage turnout.
“Kelvin and I are both so proud that we were able to help Shetland make an impact on what is to be debated at the UKYP sitting. This shows that we’re fully engaged in decision making, and making sure our young people’s voices are heard nationally.”
We are absolutely delighted to announce that Shetland’s young people had a massive voice in this vote. MSYP KAYLEE MOUAT
Meanwhile, the MSYPs for Shetland have also been keeping busy during the October break by attending the 61st sitting of the Scottish Youth Parliament, which was held this weekend in Greenock.
This meeting saw saw MSYPs come together from all over Scotland to discuss and debate issues which affect the young people in their communities, the first of which was social media.
Members took part in a short workshop which discussed the risks of social media and the importance of using it responsibly.
In a joint report the MSYPs wrote: “This is something we both feel strongly about and we want to help encourage young people to use the internet safely and be aware of the dangers.
“We have both been involved locally with Virtually Safe Virtually Sound events which have helped to promote a message that we need to learn how to keep ourselves and our friend’s safe online, as well as in the real world.”
Another issue discussed during the weekend was mental health. The MSYPs met with members of See Me, an organisation which wants to end mental health discrimination.
See Me have recently piloted a pack for schools which will help to inform young people about mental health problems and MSYPs were given the opportunity to familiarise themselves with the pack during a workshop.
Speak your mind
Of this Shetland’s MSYPs wrote: “It is a fantastic resource that they have created and we look forward to it being rolled out to schools.”
On the second day of the sitting each MSYP attended a consultation workshop on an issue such as attainment, Brexit, social security or armed forces visits to schools.
Following their weekend in Greenock the MSYPs are returning to Shetland with a packed schedule.
The pair wrote: “Over the next few weeks we will be doing a lot of work locally to raise further awareness of the Scottish Youth Parliament’s campaign Speak Your Mind.
“We are looking forward to meeting with Helen Budge, director of children’s services and Karen Smith, Shetland’s Choose Life coordinator, to discuss the findings from the Scottish Youth Parliament report ‘Our Generation’s Epidemic’ to take forward the report’s recommendations at a local level.”