Community conference to be held at Holyrood

24/03/2010

A conference to showcase the results of a ground-breaking community project will be held at the Scottish Parliament this Friday.

The Community Partnerships Project conference will run from 10.30-12.30pm at Holyrood and will focus on the experiences of the Parliament’s three project partners:

  • Action for Children
  • Haggeye
  • MeAL (Multi Ethnic Aberdeen Ltd)

Believed to be the first of its kind, the Scottish Parliament Community Partnerships Project was launched in August 2008 to give a voice to people typically under-represented in political life.

The conference aims to highlight the practical experience gained by the organisations on how to interact and engage with Holyrood.

Their experiences over the 18-month project include:

  • Issuing their own audio CD-ROM listing the best ways to influence Holyrood and holding an exhibition for MSPs that included a simulation of sight loss. (Haggeye)
  • Submitting a public petition on NHS translation services and creating and hosting an international event attended by MSPs. (MeAL)
  • Holding local participation focus groups, encouraging young people to create their own video diaries and challenge for MSPs asking them to experience various aspects of life as a socially excluded young person. (Action for Children)

Chair of Haggeye, 16-year-old Gemma Mackintosh from Inverness, said: “We’ve been really encouraged by how easy it is to engage with the system in Holyrood. The skills and knowledge we’ve gained by participating in this project will be really valuable in achieving our aim of campaigning for better services for blind and partially sighted people.”

Malcolm McCarthy, Business Development Manager for MeAL said: “This groundbreaking community-based project has provided us with a unique opportunity for members of the minority ethnic communities in the North East to directly engage with Parliament, its processes and procedures. The positive outcomes delivered are a clear demonstration of how meaningful and constructive interaction with Holyrood can make a real difference to people's lives for the better.”

Sean Harkin, who leads on participation for Action for Children Scotland, said: “This project has helped young people find their voice and understand how they can get things changed. They have come up with lots of great ideas such as special MSP surgeries for young people and under-25s forums in every area. They are now working on making these things happen.”

Presiding Officer Alex Fergusson MSP said: “This valuable and innovative community project was formally launched in our 10th anniversary year to enable the Parliament to engage with new audiences the length and breadth of the country.

"This project has clearly demonstrated that no matter what anyone’s background or circumstances, their voice is important to the Scottish Parliament. I look forward to hearing more about the activities of our three partner organisations during the conference, and I hope that their experiences will inspire others to become more involved in the political process.”

The conference will also introduce the three organisations who will partner the Parliament for the next phase of the project – Mid Argyll Youth Project, Ownerships Options in Scotland and South Ayrshire Youth Forum.

You can now get in touch with the Parliament by text message. Our interactive service enables you to get the name of your MSP by sending your postcode, lets you ask questions about the Parliament and its work, and enables you to request a selection of free leaflets. The number to take advantage of is 07786 209888. Texts are charged at standard network rates. More details can be found on our Text Service page.

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