Young Islanders Network launched
The Scottish Government have partnered with Youth Scotland to launch a new online platform to help young people from Scotland’s islands share their voices, views, and experiences.
The Young Islanders Network will enable young people to be involved in the National Islands Plan, setting their own agenda on the online platform.
The idea was developed in response to contributions from children, young people, and their families through the 2019 National Islands Plan consultation, after it highlighted the challenges and ambitions of young islanders.
It is hoped that the new service will engage young people from primary school age through to secondary school and into young adulthood.
The platform is currently encouraging young people to create an animated compass that will be used in the next stage of the website.
Visiting Orkney for the launch event, islands secretary Mairi Gougeon said: “We loved this idea of grassroots youth representation from our island communities which is why we made a key commitment in our National Islands Plan to develop the Young Islanders Network.
“Today marks a really important milestone in terms of the Scottish Government’s work against this commitment, and I would like to congratulate everyone involved and thank them for their hard work.
“It also gives me immense pleasure to invite representation from the Young Islanders Network to join the delivery group looking into the implementation of our plan for the islands, ensuring that it fully considers their interests and priorities, now and into the future.”
Mike Strang, Youth Scotland’s chief executive, said: “Through our work with young people across Scotland, we know the power of youth voice and the issues young people feel strongly about. Now, through the Young Islanders Network, we have a fantastic opportunity to listen to young people and work with them and Scottish Government to build an inclusive and meaningful community, recognising both the diversity and commonalities of our vibrant island communities.
“Youth Scotland has historically had great representation in our membership from Scotland’s island communities, and this partnership with young islanders and the Scottish Government only strengthens their access to quality youth work and how they can directly interact with the National Islands Plan building a brighter, greener more inclusive future for Young Islanders.”
Speaking about the Young Islanders Network, Kaydence, 18, a young person from the Community Learning and Development Orkney group said: "I really like that the Young Islanders Network gives young islanders the opportunity to meet together and discuss issues that affect them. Often it can feel like you’re the only one dealing with the issue because, well, you’re on a little island – surely nobody else is dealing with the issues!
“In a nice sort of way it’s comforting to know that you’re not the only one dealing with that issue. And on top of that, we get the opportunity to try and actually do something about it and it’s wonderful to feel like you might actually have the power to improve things in your own life.”