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Culture and Media

From 2021-2026 our 'From Scotland's Young People' Manifesto will determine the priorities of the Scottish Youth Parliament. Culture and media campaigns will focus on funding for the arts during the recovery from COVID-19, protecting youth work budgets, and more. See below the policies that have been included in our manifesto, and what young people have said about them.

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Funding for the arts, culture and media

In our survey, which was mostly conducted online, we asked Scotland’s young people what policies they wanted to see the Scottish Youth Parliament campaign on over the next five years. On Culture and Media, the first policy we asked if Scotland’s young people supported was: “Funding for the arts, culture and media   sectors should be protected as Scotland recovers from the COVID-19 crisis.” Overall, 73.2% agreed, 9.8% disagreed, and 17.0% didn’t know.

Reflections from young people

Rhys Pearce MSYP spoke about funding for cultural programmes and said:

I had really been looking forward to applying for the Scottish Book Trust creative development programme “StoryBoard”, after an unsuccessful application last year. I could not find any information about this year’s application process, so eventually I messaged one of the people who had been on it last year, and they told me it had been suspended indefinitely due to Scottish Book Trust experiencing financial troubles as a result of COVID. 

SBT staff are looking to organise a similar programme, but are struggling to find the funds to do so. This has been quite disappointing as the programme was only for those aged 14-17, and as I am currently 16, I could be unable to apply by the time a replacement project has been organised.  

Living in a rural area, the national focus of storyboard made it really appealing as similar opportunities tend to be urban based, making me ineligible or unable to attend. I am very much hoping to pursue a career in creative writing, which the storyboard programme could have really helped with. The storyboard programme worked with young people interested in several different creative mediums from all over Scotland, so I think a lot of young people will be just as disappointed as I am. – Rhys Pearce MSYP 

Investing in local youth work

The next policy Scotland’s young people voted for is: “Local youth work should be invested in by national and local government and protected by law from budget cuts.” Overall 72% of young people agreed, 10% disagreed, and 18% didn’t know.

I heard about youth work cut backs and I just think that is so sad, I had all of these opportunities when i was younger, and now kids are having these opportunities taken away

– Armed forces young person

Cabinet Speech – The Value of Youth Work

In March 2020 Caitie Dundas joined other MSYPs and MCPs from the Children’s Parliament in presenting to the Scottish Cabinet. Caitie’s speech focused on the value of youth work, and you can read the full speech by clicking here or find a part of it below.

SYP is an organisation with a 20 year history, that was forged by a coalition of youth workers and young people coming together to stand up for what they believed in. None of our many victories during that period would have been possible without youth work. Youth work changes lives.

Through my experiences during my time in SYP over the last three years, I have been lucky enough to discover just how true this is. Since my election, I have grown massively in confidence, developed a wealth of unique new skills and have found myself participating in incredible opportunities.

Additional funding for the Scottish Youth Parliament

The final policy on Culture and Media we asked Scotland’s young people to vote on was “The Scottish Youth Parliament should receive additional funding to ensure they can reach more young people across Scotland.” 74.9% agreed, 6.4% disagreed, and 18.7% didn’t know.

Reading for Pleasure: The Culture and Media Committee Want You to Get Involved!

In March 2021, Culture and Media Committee Convener, Emily Nix MSYP wrote a blog encouraging young people to read more in their free time to improve cognitive development, give time to relax, and more. Read the blog in full by clicking here.

Reading for pleasure is more important for children’s cognitive development than their parent’s level of education and is a more powerful factor in life achievement than socio-economic background.

Culture and Media are passionate about all things storytelling, and this month, we’re focusing on reading for pleasure! We want to encourage everyone to pick up a book, whether you usually read every day, or you never read.

We kicked off our campaign on World Book Day, celebrating with a quiz and some conversations about books! We shared some of our favourite books and characters and learnt about some of the strong women in literature – like Agatha Christie, the best-selling female author of all time and Mary Shelley who invented the Sci-Fi genre.

We learnt that 46% of young people aged 16 – 25 don’t read in their free time, which is something we want to change, especially when we consider the benefits of reading, such as strengthening your brain, increasing your ability to empathize, and allowing you time to relax.

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