Group take their message to Holyrood

A group of care experienced young people from Aberdeenshire met the First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, at the Scottish Parliament
A group of care experienced young people from Aberdeenshire met the First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, at the Scottish Parliament

A group of care experienced young people from Aberdeenshire met the First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, at the Scottish Parliament last week.

The young people are members of YPOC (Young People’s Organising and Campaigning) and they visited Holyrood on Thursday, February 23.

YPOC is a campaigning group that has been running in Aberdeenshire to give young people with experience of the care system a voice and a platform to influence the experiences of others and themselves for the better.

YPOC were at Holyrood to present a video and guide to highlight the experiences they have had as looked after children.

“Don’t judge – we’re no different from you” shows the challenges which are faced by looked after young people at school.

The guide that accompanies the video outlines what young people who have experienced care say helps them to get the most out of their education.

The video was written, acted and presented by the young people themselves, with the support of Kate Ramsden and Laura Stewart of the Children’s Rights Service, and Lynne Williamson, Who Cares? Scotland worker.

While the video and guide point the way to how issues can be better handled, its power is in stressing the need to recognise the back stories that young people in care carry with them.

The First Minister spoke of how powerful the video was and she assured the young people that the ‘root and branch’ review of the children in care system announced last October would listen to their views and put the experiences of children who have been through the care system at the centre of the review. She had pledged to personally listen to “1,000 care experienced voices”.

The young people were absolutely thrilled that their hard work had such a positive response from all those that watched it at the Scottish Parliament and that it will be used as a resource for the teacher training course at Stirling University.

Group member Chelsea said: “We are sending the DVD and guide out to all schools in Aberdeenshire for them to use in staff training and personal and social education.”