Election 2021

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Chamber and committees

Meeting date: Tuesday, March 2, 2021

Meeting of the Parliament (Hybrid) 02 March 2021 [Draft]

Agenda: Time for Reflection, Business Motion, Topical Question Time, Covid-19, Scottish Parliamentary Elections 2021, Business Motion, Defamation and Malicious Publication (Scotland) Bill: Stage 3, Defamation and Malicious Publication (Scotland) Bill, Code of Conduct Rule Changes, Reimbursement of Members’ Expenses Scheme, Decision Time, Eating Disorder Awareness Week 2021, Correction


Time for Reflection

The Presiding Officer (Ken Macintosh)

Good afternoon. I welcome members to the chamber. As usual on a Tuesday, we begin with time for reflection.

Our time for reflection leaders today are Mia Fallon and Nathaniel Sweeney, who are the living on £2 campaign project representatives from St Aidan’s high school in Wishaw. I will hand over to Mia and Nathaniel.

Nathaniel Sweeney (St Aidan’s High School, Wishaw)

Hello, everyone. I am from St Aidan’s high school in Wishaw, and I am with my friend Mia Fallon to discuss my school’s £2-a-day challenge.

To briefly summarise, the challenge, which was proposed by Mr O’Donnell, our head of social subjects, was to go through a school week with only £10 to spend on food, raising awareness of the one third of the world’s population who must live on less than $2 a day.

Each participating student was asked to find sponsors, who could donate any amount of money to charity. I asked my parents and close relatives, who then asked other family members and, through a chain reaction, I garnered more than £275.

However, other students took on more creative methods, posting on sites such as Instagram and Snapchat, to help spread the word further. In total, our school raised £1,311. That is a great amount for a challenge that, originally, was just intended to raise awareness about poverty and the frightening position that millions of families around the world are facing.

Mia Fallon (St Aidan’s High School, Wishaw)

Before beginning the challenge, I do not that think anyone comprehended the obstacles that we would face throughout the week and just how little money we could spend.

During the week, preparing and budgeting was difficult for many of us, as we had to go to several shops for the best-priced foods, and I had similar boring meals across the day.

During the challenge, the link between poverty and obesity became clear, as the cheapest foods tend to contain little nutritional benefits. Many of them come from cans or packets, and there was a lack of fresh foods and vegetables due to the insane prices.

By the middle of the week, we had small meals very infrequently, leading to our being hungry throughout the day, with no money to buy snacks. That affected our mindsets and concentration levels in our work. Many of us were exhausted and were not motivated to complete anything.

I have reflected on the past week and it has become apparent that that is what a third of the world endure every day. I have lost all self-pity, becoming instantly more thankful for and appreciative of everything that I have in life.

We intend to donate all the money that we raised to local charities, including Paul’s Parcels, which is a voluntary group that is striving to eradicate food poverty in Shotts.

The Presiding Officer

Thank you very much indeed for your contribution, Mia and Nathaniel.