Holyrood welcomes voluntary groups to conference

01/10/2010

Holyrood will welcome dozens of local voluntary groups and charity organisations from across Scotland to empower and encourage them to engage with their parliament.

The Communities Conference: ‘Understanding and Influencing Your Parliament’, aims to help smaller, local groups campaign more effectively and increase the opportunities for such groups to have their voice heard in Holyrood.

It is the second year such a conference has been held at the Parliament.

The event - which includes workshops and Q + A sessions - will focus on giving the groups practical advice and guidance on effective campaigning to help increase awareness of their work, with MSPs and in the Parliament.

Events will be held in the Chamber and committee rooms across Holyrood.

Speakers include MSPs, successful parliamentary campaigners - including individuals who engaged with the Public Petitions Committee - journalists, and Parliament staff who specialise in engagement opportunities.

Presiding Officer Alex Fergusson MSP said: "This conference highlights the innovative approaches the Scottish Parliament continues to take, to help as many people as possible have their voice heard in their Parliament. We hope to build on the success of last year’s event which attracted more than 100 people from across Scotland.

“In terms of target audience, and aims and objectives, we are not aware of any other parliament, assembly or legislature which delivers such an event to its people.”

Sessions from the event, which are all free, will be available on Holyrood.tv after the event. Photos of the conference will be available from Media Relations Office.

Background

The Community Partnerships Project is a groundbreaking initiative to give a voice to people typically under-represented in political life. The project aims to help disability rights organisations, difficult-to-reach young people, and people from black and ethnic minority backgrounds to understand Parliamentary processes, in order to encourage them to engage with Parliament.

Three organisations took part in the initial phase of the Community Partnerships Project and some of the direct outcomes included:

  • several events and exhibitions being held at the Parliament,
  • a petition submitted on access to health care,
  • numerous meetings with Members of Parliament and Government Ministers
  • Scotland's Youth Forum for Blind and Partially Sighted Young People winning a prestigious Young Scot Award for 'Democracy and Citizenship'

Three different organisations are taking part in the second phase of the Community Partnerships Project, and will be joined by Multi Ethnic Aberdeen Ltd, who are continuing as a partner, having developed a network of local “Ambassadors for Change” to help people in thier area learn about Parliament.

As well as the Community Partnership Project, in the past twelve months the Parliament has also:

  • doubled capacity for schools and other educational institutions to visit Holyrood - leading to 12,500 young people passing through our doors last year.
  • Introduced a free guided-tour service – enabling visitors to tour Parliament’s public and private areas free of charge.

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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