Last year, during Scotland’s Year of Young People (YoYP) 2018, young people from across Scotland took part in workshops, seminars and panel discussions in partnership with flagship European projects, cementing young people’s voices in future decision making.
The YoYP 2018 acted as a catalyst which helped establish high-profile opportunities with European projects in Berlin, Strasbourg and Brussels which gave young Scots a voice and a platform to strengthen European relations.
Over 9,000 young people from across Europe, including four Communic18 leaders from Scotland, attended the 2018 European Youth Event in Strasbourg in May. This is a major event in the European calendar which enables thousands of young people and those who support them to experience new opportunities for dialogue, cross-cultural learning and collaboration.
The group of young Scots, who were members of Communic18, the national co-design leaders’ group for YoYP 2018, delivered a workshop promoting the positive impact the Year’s programme has had in Scotland. It was also an opportunity to have deliberative conversations about how other countries could replicate the initiative using their own systems of involving young people; which sparked the imaginations of all involved.
To celebrate the launch of the Scottish Government’s new ‘Innovation Hub’ in Berlin, Year of Young People 2018 Ambassadors and Communic18 members travelled to the city with UK-German Connection, who partnered with YoYP 2018 to provide the opportunity. The trip included workshops to develop new youth programmes in both countries, engaging young people from a wide range of backgrounds.
Ava Frail, aged 12, a YOYP 2018 Ambassador from Fife, travelled to Scotland House Brussels as the Scottish Government’s honorary guest, alongside Bruce Adamson, Children and Young People’s Commissioner Scotland, to deliver a poignant speech to an audience of over 100 delegates from across Europe. Ava discussed the importance of protecting children and young people’s rights across Scotland, and in Europe, and highlighted the Scottish Government’s policies aimed at reducing child poverty – as well as her experiences of growing up in Fife.
When Ava was asked about how she believes young people from across Europe can continue to cooperate throughout uncertain times, she poignantly said, “we all need to be kind.”
In true Scots style, our Year of Young People 2018 was innovatively outward looking; enabling young people from around Europe to explore their identities, cultural differences and similarities. Despite the uncertain times ahead, we believe through the work carried out during YoYP 2018, we believe the young people of Scotland can continue to flourish and develop positive relationships with their peers around Europe. We can’t wait to see what’s next!