About the roadshow
Our roadshow – As Covid-19 measures were lifted, we created an engagement programme for the Commissioner, Bruce and the team to meet and work with as many children and young people as possible. We have been on the road again, this time hitting three more stops. This is just one part of us ensuring their voices are front and centre in all the work we do. Read more to get a flavour of what children and young people told us about the issues of poverty, health and having their opinions heard.
Poverty and Equality Commission
Our Participation Officer, Kevin, and Policy Officer, Cameron worked with the Poverty and Inequality Commission (PIC) to ensure young people’s views informed the Commission’s report on the Scottish Government’s ‘Tackling Child Poverty Delivery Plan.’ We were excited to be involved, particularly as this was the first time the Commission had involved children and young people in their scrutiny process.
Kevin and Cameron helped deliver three workshops with young people aged between 12 and 17, including one session with our young advisers group. In the sessions, the young people explored what child poverty meant to them, their thoughts on the actions being taken to reduce child poverty and what more needs to be done to tackle it. One participant, age 16 said: “When I think of poverty, I think of inequality…it’s not fair and it’s not right”.
To some of the young people, poverty meant not having your basic needs met, and not having your rights upheld. For others, it was about not being able to have things, or do the things that make life enjoyable. One 12-year-old said: “It’s not having physically nothing, but it’s not having enough money to get more expensive things, the things that people should have to enjoy themselves. People in poverty can just get the bare minimum.”
The findings from the workshops are currently being developed into a report that will ensure children’s voices are at the heart of any advice given to the Scottish Government on its delivery plan. In thanking our office and our young advisers for their contribution PIC said:
“We are so grateful to the children and young people for their time and for sharing their views with us. Having the views of children and young people adds an important perspective and strengthens the scrutiny.”
Children’s Health Scotland – online session
Next in the roadshow, was an online session with Children’s Health Scotland, a charity dedicated to promoting and championing the needs of children and their families at times of illness. Their work informs children and young people, parents and carers of their rights and responsibilities.
The children and young people spoke with the Commissioner, Bruce and Megan our Policy Officer, about issues important to them and what else needed to be done to improve their enjoyment of rights. This included tackling bullying, support after diagnosis and more education for healthcare staff and teachers. One young person reported only getting one hour of education per week for English, after a three-year battle to secure this.
After the event, some of the young people involved took part in producing this video, a great piece which explores autism and the ways in which those with autism should be regarded as ‘different, not less.’ Megan, our Policy Officer said: “The young people involved were very articulate and talked about their experiences openly, clearly and calmly, even though what they were talking about was really significant, long term and systemic breaches of their rights.”
Peebles High School
Next up was Peebles High School, where Commissioner, Bruce was a pupil for a day and our Policy Officer, Cameron, took on the role of a learning assistant. Both attended the school’s Pupil Parliament, where the young people exchanged ideas about how they would spend £5000 of the school budget. Describing the day, Cameron said the engagement with the pupils was “fantastic and inspiring.” Both Bruce and Cameron were able to witness some great examples of rights in action, such as learning about a climate justice project which saw the students stage a protest in the town hall, as well as meeting pupils involved in writing to, and meeting with elected members, raising with them both local and international issues.