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Chamber and committees

Meeting of the Parliament (Hybrid)

Meeting date: Tuesday, March 22, 2022


Time for Reflection

The Presiding Officer (Alison Johnstone)

Good afternoon. I remind members of the Covid-related measures that are in place, and that face coverings should be worn when moving around the chamber and across the Holyrood campus.

The first item of business this afternoon is time for reflection. Our time for reflection leader today is Mr Antoni Pia, youth development worker, Tullochan.

Mr Antoni Pia (Youth Development Worker, Tullochan)

Presiding Officer, thank you for inviting me to address Parliament.

My name is Antoni Pia and I work for a great organisation called Tullochan. Based in West Dunbartonshire, Tullochan is a youth development charity that supports people aged seven to 25 through a range of programmes in primary and secondary schools. We also have a training academy that helps young people to work towards positive destinations.

I have worked for Tullochan for five years. In the past, as a young person, I attended Tullochan sessions in school and, when I left school, I received employability and personal development support from Tullochan. As someone who struggled really badly with anxiety, I never thought that I would work in such a role or become the person that I am today—much more outgoing and confident when speaking to others. It is an amazing place to work, and I love helping young people who face the same barriers that I did when I was growing up, and seeing them improve with my help.

I recognise the important role that organisations such as Tullochan play in the lives of young people, especially now that we are coming out of the pandemic. Now more than ever, young people need support to cope with the increase in mental health issues such as social anxiety, which have been made worse by long periods of isolation.

Our Tullochan training academy helps young people aged 16 to 25 who have left school and need guidance to take their next steps forward. At the training academy, we support young people to push themselves out of their comfort zones, build their resilience, work on their confidence and take ownership of their development. We deliver programmes such as our creative communities sessions, which help young people to develop their creative and practical skills, and our personal development and employability sessions, which help young people to prepare for work and gain the skills that are needed for employment. Young people also gain vital work experience through placements in our social enterprise ventures The Design House and The Common Good cafe.

Overall, third sector organisations such as Tullochan provide safe and supportive environments where young people can mix with others, develop skills to overcome barriers and take positive steps forward with their lives, which is important for young people in West Dunbartonshire and across Scotland—now more than ever. [Applause.]

Thank you, Antoni.