My name is Emmie Main and I am a Participation theme leader for the Year of Young People. I am a member of a group called Communic18 and our job is to be ‘co-design champions’ for the year. This means we work with organisations and other stakeholders to discuss how they can work with young people and co-produce services and events that young people can take the lead on and take part in.
Participation is the perfect theme for me to lead on. I am a massive advocate for young people being involved in political and civic life. I campaign fiercely for the voting age to be lowered to 16 over the whole of the UK and am extremely proud that Scotland has led the way in that. As a former member of the Scottish Youth Parliament and chair of Moray Youth Council, I know just how important it is for young people to be involved in decision making processes and how powerful it is when young people directly influence policy.
Participation, to me, means so much more than political participation, and the Year of Young People truly embodies that. We make sure that events we hold are accessible and cater for the needs of all young people who are attending. The year is a nationwide celebration, with events happening all the way from Shetland, down to the Scottish Borders and everywhere in between. As a young person from the North East of Scotland, this is especially important to me as I know how frustrating it can be with everything happening in Glasgow and Edinburgh.
We are coming into the second half of 2018, and I am extremely proud of the things we have achieved over this year. We have engaged with organisations who have never worked with young people before. We have partnerships with the Scottish Parliament and the Government. We have taken the year internationally, really achieving our aim to give young people a chance to shine GLOBALLY. And we still have 5 months left.
I hope the legacy for the year will be that co-design will become the norm and that organisations will open up to young people and want to work with them. I can see it happening already and can’t wait for it to continue.