Three new organisations are set to team up with the Scottish Parliament as part of its innovative community project.
Two youth groups from the south and west of Scotland and a charity that campaigns for better housing for disabled people will join the second phase of Holyrood’s Community Partnerships Project at the official launch on Tuesday 18 May.
South Ayrshire Youth Forum, Mid-Argyll Youth Project and Ownership Options Scotland will then work with Holyrood’s staff over the next 18 months to gain first-hand practical experience of how to interact and engage with the Scottish Parliament.
Speaking ahead of the launch, Presiding Officer Alex Fergusson MSP said: “The Scottish Parliament has always been a parliament for the people – and this valuable and innovative community project has proved to be an excellent way to reach out and connect with groups that we have identified as being under-represented at Holyrood.
“Over the coming months, our partners will learn how to build a campaign and call for change in their communities. I look forward to learning more about our three new partners and to seeing how they use this experience to become more actively involved in the political process.”
Chair of South Ayrshire Youth Forum, 17-year-old Jodie McCoy said: “The Community Partnership Project is giving South Ayrshire Youth Forum members an opportunity to learn about how the Scottish Parliament works and how we can influence the lawmakers.
“By being part of the Partnership project, we have the potential to make a real difference to the lives of young people, not only in South Ayrshire, but throughout Scotland. The support from the Parliament Project team has been brilliant and we are looking forward to working with them over the next year. ”
Fiona Kalache, Co-ordinator for the Mid-Argyll Youth Project, said: “We are honoured to have been selected by the Scottish Parliament to participate in this unique Community Partnership programme. During the course of the project we hope the young people will fully engage in the process by initiating their own petition and developing their own local youth newspaper.”
Moira Bayne, Director of Ownership Options in Scotland said: “We are delighted to have been selected to take part in CPP2 and are all looking forward to a positive year of engagement. We hope to provide a voice for disabled people; to highlight the barriers which disabled people face and to share our experiences to help bring about positive outcomes for disabled people.”
Hosted by the Presiding Officer Alex Fergusson MSP, the launch will feature first-hand personal experiences from speakers from each of the three new partners and will take place on Tuesday 18 May from 6-8pm at the Scottish Parliament.
Scottish Parliament Community Partnership Project
Believed to be the first of its kind, the Scottish Parliament’s Community Partnership Project was launched in November 2008 to give a voice to people typically under-represented in political life. The three specific areas targeted under the scheme are disability rights organisations, people from ethnic minority backgrounds and hard-to-reach young people.
After a series of information sessions about the Parliament the groups will be asked to identify a key issue affecting them and then actively address this through various parliamentary processes. Their experiences of the project will then be showcased in an Outcomes Conference to be held at Holyrood in March 2011.
The initial three partners under the first phase of the project (Nov 2008 – April 2010) were:
- Action for Children (Scotland).
Multi Ethnic Aberdeen Limited (MeAL) will continue to work with Scottish Parliament to develop their Ambassadors for Change programme that aims to recruit 25 local people to roll out what they learnt in the pilot to the wider communities across Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire.