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Groundbreaking parliament partnership programme launched
A groundbreaking project to give a voice to people typically under-represented in political life has been launched today by the Scottish Parliament.
In what is believed to be the first Parliamentary project of its kind, the Scottish Parliament Community Partnerships Project will work with blind and partially sighted young people, difficult to reach young people, and people from black and minority ethnic backgrounds to help them get involved with and influence the activities of the Parliament.
The partner groups taking part are:
* Haggeye - the Forum for Blind and Partially Sighted Young people in Scotland. Haggeye works across Scotland to enable young people aged 12 to 25 years old to come together to make a difference by successfully campaigning for accessible services, facilities and opportunities, locally and nationally.
* Action for Children (AfC) - (formerly NCH Scotland) one of the largest charities working with vulnerable and difficult to reach young people. Action for Children Scotland works with young people who often need intense support in particularly difficult circumstances. Its participation in the project will focus on the city of Dundee.
* Multi-Ethnic Aberdeen Ltd (MeAL) - a user led organisation committed to promoting tolerance, cultural diversity and raising awareness of the value of ethnic individuals, business owners and organisations. MeAL's participation in the project will focus on Aberdeen city and Aberdeenshire.
Presiding Officer Alex Fergusson MSP said:
"Our existing programme of educational activities and events both within and outwith Holyrood have been very successful in reaching a wide variety of groups and individuals the length and breadth of Scotland. However, as we approach our tenth anniversary, it is important we continue to engage with new audiences and this exciting project offers just such an opportunity.
"No matter what anyone's background or circumstances, their voice is important to the Scottish Parliament. We hope to show the very practical difference people can make to how their Parliament can improve life in Scotland."
The first phase of the project will begin during the next few weeks. Parliament staff will visit public sessions organised by the partners. They will talk about how the Parliament works and how people can interact and influence policy development and legislation.
During 2009, the groups themselves will determine what issues they would like to see addressed and work with Parliament staff and MSPs to determine how to bring this issue to the Scottish Parliament. This could be a public petition, an event, an art project - any method that the group believe can effectively communicate their issue to parliamentarians. As each project develops, information will be placed into the public domain.
To find out more about the projects and other activities being delivered by the Parliament as part of activities to mark a decade of devolution, please visit:
* Parliament's Information on Community Partnerships http://www.scottish.parliament.uk/vli/outreach/index.htm.
* Parliament's news release on 10th anniversary project: http://www.scottish.parliament.uk/nmCentre/news/news-08/pa08-034.htm
To take part in the project, please contact MeAL, Action for Children Scotland or Haggeye directly.
Mo Colvin, Project Development Officer, Haggeye. Office: 0131 311 8500. http://www.rnib.org.uk/scotland
Haggeye is made up of young people from across Scotland and was launched in June 2007. The project is supported by RNIB Scotland the Big Lottery Fund. Haggeye offers opportunities to enable young people's voices to be heard. It provides opportunities to meet new people and make new friends, take part in social activities, discuss issues, influence the provision of services and campaign for change.
* Action for Children (AfC)
Bryan Christie, media officer for Action for Children Scotland.
Tel: 0131 653 2750 Mobile: 07788 583037.
Action for Children is the new name for NCH, the children's charity. One of the UK's leading children's charities, which was established in 1869. We work in partnership to run 65 services for more than 7000 of Scotland's most vulnerable children, young people and their families. Across the UK we run 450 services providing help for around 170,000 children, young people and their families. For further information on Action for Children Scotland or to support our work visit http://www.actionforchildren.org.uk
* Multi-Ethnic Aberdeen Ltd (MeAL)
Malcolm McCarthy, Business Development Manager, Multi Ethnic Aberdeen Limited.
Tel: 01224 645268 http://www.multiethnic.co.uk/index.html
Multi Ethnic Aberdeen is a user led registered Scottish charity and a non-profit company limited by guarantee. It is committed to promoting tolerance, cultural diversity, and raising awareness of the value of the ethnic individuals, business owners and organisations within Aberdeen, Aberdeenshire, and North East Scotland.
The organisation wants to promote and encourage a harmonious society in the North East of Scotland that is multi-ethnic, multi-racial, and multi-faith. It is working towards the social, educational, economic and cultural equality of all. They do this by working with the public, private and voluntary sectors to provide equal opportunities for the mutual benefit of everyone living in the North East area of Scotland.
For public information enquiries, contact:
Telephone: 0131 348 5000 / 0800 092 7500 (Public Enquiries) / 0131 348 5395 (Gaidhlig)
Textphone users can contact us on 0800 092 7100. We also welcome calls using the RNID Typetalk service.
Visit our website at: http://www.scottish.parliament.uk
You can now get in touch with the Parliament by text message. Our interactive service enables you to get the name of your MSP by sending your postcode, lets you ask questions about the Parliament and its work, and enables you to request a selection of free leaflets. The number to take advantage of is 07786 209888. Texts are charged at standard network rates. More details can be found on our Text Service page.