Over the years I’ve heard people say negative things about young people.
They cause trouble.
They’re on their phones too much.
That they’re too soft, or easily offended.
So it was a refreshing change of tone when as a nation we decided that 2018 was the year that we were going to put young people on the pedestal.
To celebrate their achievements, their contributions to our communities & the potential they each have in transforming our society.
As part of the Year of Young People, Angus Council developed a Youth Engagement Strategy and one of the impressive things about this strategy is that it was co-designed with young people. One important element of democracy is that change happens with people, not to them so it’s absolutely common sense that young people are involved in designing a strategy for engaging with young people.
I was also really impressed by the ‘Power of Youth’ Participatory Budgeting event (funded by the European Interreg Programme). This event had different projects put forward and voted on by young people with the winning projects receiving funding. This put power in to the hands of young people and let them decide what their own priorities are.
We did a lot of good things for the Year of Young People but I’m keen to keep the ball rolling. On top of the legacy work that the Council has planned there are things that us elected members can be doing to make sure our young people are represented.
We have local Members of Scottish Youth Parliament (or MSYPs) and I’ve had frequent contact with them where they’ve told me about the campaigns they’re involved in and where we’ve worked together on common goals.
Last year, by collaborating with our MSYPs, the Monifieth & Sidlaw Councillors managed to organise surgeries in Monifieth High School. This was a great opportunity to talk to local young people and find out what matters to them, it was certainly worth doing.
Young people are never short of ideas and hopefully with the Year of Young People, we’ve started something that won’t end any time soon.
You can find more information on Angus Council’s Year of Young People Projects here.