As part of the Scottish Parliament’s 20th anniversary programme, the Presiding Officer has today announced that he is to visit every region in Scotland to reaffirm the importance of Holyrood’s engagement with local communities.
The Presiding Officer will be in Maryhill and Springburn on Friday 31 May, followed by Skye and Banff and Buchan later in the year.
These regional events will seek to identify and break down the barriers which prevent people from with engaging with their politicians and influencing the work of the Parliament.
Presiding Officer of the Scottish Parliament, the Rt Hon Ken Macintosh MSP said:
“Our 20th anniversary is an opportunity for people across Scotland to reflect on the difference that the Scottish Parliament has made over these past two decades to peoples’ lives.
“But more important than that, it is an opportunity to take positive action to strengthen our relationship with local communities, helping to create an environment where people are actively engaged with the Parliament and know how to make their voice heard.
“In these days of fake news and growing cynicism towards politics and politicians, it is more important than ever that we actively reach out to communities across the country and demonstrate that Parliament is accessible and is there for the people of Scotland.
“My hope is that we can use these 20th anniversary events to highlight the principles on which we were founded and to demonstrate that we have never forgotten the importance of our partnership with local people across Scotland.”
On the visit on the 31 May, the Presiding Officer will be joined by the constituency MSP for Maryhill and Springburn Bob Doris MSP. He said:
“As we mark the 20th anniversary of our Parliament, I am delighted to host the Presiding Officer at events across Maryhill and Springburn, a constituency I have the privilege to represent. It is fitting that the voice of local young people will feature so prominently, given the responsibility our Parliament has to help deliver on their hopes and aspirations, as well as to listen to their concerns.
“I am particularly pleased to support events discussing the challenges and opportunities to promote positive mental health in our communities, as well as to help highlight the work of various organisations who help support and promote the values of diversity and inclusiveness across Maryhill and Springburn.
“Maryhill and Springburn has a proud history and bright future and we look forward to sharing this with the Presiding Officer during his visit.”
In Maryhill and Springburn the visit will include the following:
• A visit to Elmvale Primary where the Presiding Officer will meet three Primary 6 / Primary 7 classes to hear about their thoughts for the future of the Parliament. Bob Doris will also be there to do a question and answer session with the kids about his job as an MSP;
• The Presiding Officer and Bob Doris MSP will attend a lunch organised by Maryhill Integration Network and will hear about the challenges faced as immigrants and asylum seekers;
• The Presiding Officer will then meet with the Chief Executive of Scotland’s Regional Equality Councils to explore the key barriers for ethnic communities to engage in politics at all levels;
• The Presiding Officer will go along to the African Challenge Homework Club where he will talk about 20 years of the Parliament and also his about his career path in broadcasting and politics;
• Finally the Presiding Officer and Bob Doris MSP will meet with young people who are looking at the issue of the next 20 years of the Scottish Parliament.