Headlines: May 18th, 2010

Three new organisations will today team up with the Scottish Parliament as part of an innovative community scheme. They will join the second phase of the community Partnerships project which is being launched officially today.

The bodies, two youth groups from the south and west of Scotland and a charity that campaigns for better housing for disabled people, will work with staff from Holyrood over the next 18 months to gain practical experience of how to interact and engage with the Parliament.

The Presiding Officer, Alex Ferguson, said the Parliament had always been an institution for the people and this innovative project had proved to be an excellent way to connect with groups that were identified as being under-represented at Holyrood. “Over the coming months, our partners will learn how to build a campaign and call for change in their communities. I look forward to learning more about our three new partners and to seeing how they use this experience to become more actively involved in the political process,” he said.

The Chair of South Ayrshire Youth Forum, 17-year-old Jodie McCoy, said that the Partnership Project was giving Forum members an opportunity to learn how the Scottish Parliament worked and how they could influence lawmakers. Fiona Kalache, Co-ordinator for the Mid-Argyll Youth Project, said: “During the course of the project we hope the young people will fully engage in the process by initiating their own petition and developing their own local youth newspaper.”

Moira Bayne, Director of Ownership Options in Scotland was also delighted her organisation had been selected to take part in CPP2 and hoped to provide a voice for disabled people and to highlight the barriers which they faced by sharing experiences to help bring about positive outcomes.