Youth group pays visit to Holyrood

Banchory Youth Forum members paid a visit to the Scottish Parliament to got a chance to see Alex Salmond under the spotlight at First Minister’s Questions.

The group were warmly welcomed by MSP Dennis Robertson and his guide dog Mr Q when they visited Edinburgh to attend a session of First Minister’s Questions.

Six girls who made up the group were accompanied on the trip, which included an overnight stay in the capital city, by Banchory Community Learning and Development workers Carol Douglas and Diane Birss.

The current Youth Forum have been together as a group for over two years and have represented Banchory young people at various Aberdeenshire Council consultations including a transport summit and a youth engagement event as well as attending local meetings and groups and working in partnership with Youth Industries on last years summer Youth Event in the Bellfield Park.

Youth Forum worker Carol Douglas said: “The group are encouraged to be aware of how local and national politics affect their daily lives and the visit to the parliament was a great way of making the way it works real for them

She added: “Dennis Robertson’s efforts including arranging a’ behind the scenes’ tour of the building and providing a lovely lunch made the girls feel that young people are viewed as valued citizens and have a right to have their views taken account of in the democratic process”

Forum member Lauren Gray said: “I would recommend visiting the parliament, it was really interesting.”

Another member, Taylor Valentine, said: “Everyone was really friendly towards us.”

Shannon Dykes said: “Planning the trip and doing the research for it was interesting and being in the chamber for First Minister’s Questions has encouraged me to use my vote in the independence referendum next year.”

Next year’s referendum on Scottish independence will allow 16 and 17 year-olds the right to vote for the first time.