The Presiding Officer said:
“Communities are at the heart of our Parliament Days. Bringing the work of the Parliament into a community, but also seeing the fantastic work that goes on in that community.
“There are fantastic projects in Fort William which involve young and old people alike. I look forward to visiting and bringing the work of the Parliament to Fort William but also hearing how these projects work in practice.”
The Presiding Officer will be joined on her visits by Dave Thompson MSP, MSP for Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch.
Parliament Day Fort William activities will see the Presiding Officer visit the Nimble Fingers project which involves adults with learning disabilities and complex support needs, in creative, craft-based activities. Part of the project involves school children assisting the work as part of their school citizenship course.
The Presiding Officer will also meet with Voluntary Action Lochaber (VAL). VAL involves individuals who want to make life better in their community by taking positive social actions, and helping them develop the skills to do that.
On the eve of Parliament Day (Sunday 23 November), the Presiding Officer will also see the Buzz Project in action. The project runs a bus that travels out to various venues across Lochaber and beyond. It is fitted out to provide a mobile music studio and teaching area and is supported by an education programme covering personal development, organisational development and music industry-related topics.
Parliament Day Activities
Local Government and Regeneration Committee
The Local Government and Regeneration Committee will hold a series of workshops looking at the Community Empowerment Bill, which aims to change how communities can become involved in a wide range of actions and decisions which affect them. Changes are proposed to the community planning system, a widening of the right to buy for communities, as well as the introduction of a right to influence local services called ‘participation requests’. The Bill also proposes a new asset transfer process, and updating of allotment legislation.
The issues raised at the workshops will then be put to witnesses during a formal Committee meeting at 5.15 pm on Monday 24 November. Those giving evidence at the meeting include Highlands and Islands Enterprise, Lochaber Chamber of Commerce and Fortrose and Rosemarkie Community Council.
The meeting takes place at Lochaber High School. Tickets for the meeting are free and can be booked in advance by contacting: [email protected] or 0131 348 5200.
Devolution (Further Powers) Committee
The Devolution (Further Powers) Committee will meet with 16 and 17 year old pupils at Lochaber High from 10.30 am on Monday 24 November. This forms part of the Committee’s programme of engagement with young people who voted for the first time in this year’s referendum, to find out about their experiences.
The Parliament’s Education Outreach Team will work with pupils in local primary schools namely, Caol Primary, Spean Bridge Primary and Lochyside RC Primary in the run up to Parliament day to gain a greater understanding of the work of the Parliament and of the committees involved in Parliament Day.
On Monday 24 November local MSPs will visit schools to take part in a series of activities. They will also be asked a range of questions about the work of the Parliament.
Photographs of the event will be available free of charge from Andrew Cowan, Scottish Parliament photographer on 0131 348 5878 or [email protected].