Local council elections Scotland: Young people write open letter to candidates raising hunger, education and gender equality concerns

A group of Scottish young people and organisations have signed an open letter to council election candidates, calling for youth voices and concerns to be heard.

Grace McCabe, Magic Breakfast Youth Campaigner and Emma Rennie, Magic Breakfast Youth Campaigner, lead signatories of the letter (Photo: Magic Breakfast).

The charity Magic Breakfast has released the letter sharing the hopes of Scotland’s young people.

Priorities highlighted in the letter include hunger, education, gender equality, wellbeing, transport and youth services.

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The letter has been signed by 13 young people and six chief executives from organisation across the country.

Signatories include members of the Scottish Youth Parliament, YouthLink Scotland, Scouts Scotland, Edinburgh Children’s Hospital Charity and members of Young Humanists Scotland.

The key issue of hunger amongst young people is highlighted. The letter reads “hungry children cannot concentrate in class and fall behind their peers academically”.

A recent report published by Magic Breakfast shows around 250,000 children and young people are at risk of hunger in Scotland.

The letter states there should be an “equal playing field” for all young people through education.

It says: “If we support and nurture all children and young people, especially those from disadvantaged areas, and encourage them into higher and further education, we could create a more diverse, skilled, efficient and effective workforce.”

Gender equality also plays a key feature in the letter.

The letter calls on creating a “fairer representation for Scotland”, as well as more youth centres and outreach projects.

Mental health community-based support should be “free and accessible to all” and “local solutions” to transport problems are needed so young people can both survive and thrive in their communities, the letter states.

Grace McCabe, an 18-year-old Magic Breakfast youth campaigner and one of the lead signatories, said: “I’m signing this letter because young people are the experts on their own lives and have unique perspective to the societal issues we face today.

"From transport to gender equality, young people are affected by policy decisions every day. Therefore, our voices should be heard and I hope this letter amplifies them.”

Emma Rennie, 15, added: “Too many children and young people are facing hunger and it’s through listening to our experiences that we can create change.

"I’m hoping this letter is seen by candidates and that they commit to listening to our voices when making decisions affecting our lives.”

Full list of signatories

Grace McCabe – Magic Breakfast Youth Campaigner

Emma Rennie – Magic Breakfast Youth Campaigner

Rowan Wallace – Magic Breakfast Youth Campaigner

Andrew Will MSYP – Member of the Scottish Youth Parliament for the YMCA

Aimee Ross MSYP – Member of the SYP for Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch

Paige Holland MSYP -Member of the SYP for Kilmarnock and Irvine Valley

Urooj Chaudry MSYP – Member of the SYP for Glasgow Pollok

Thalia Ashby MSYP – Member of the SYP Dundee West

Fatima Bari MSYP – Member of the SYP for the Federation of Student Islamic Societies

Phoenix Lynn MSYP – Member of the SYP for Airdrie and Shotts

Ryan Macintyre MSYP – Member of the SYP for Argyll and Bute and Chair of Cowal Youth Forum

Angus Blacklock – Young Ambassador and Trustee, Edinburgh Children’s Hospital Charity

Members of Young Humanists Scotland

Graeme Luke, Chief Executive Officer, Scouts Scotland

Martin Dorchester – Chief Executive, includem

Helen Forrest, Chief Executive, Children’s Health Scotland

Juliet Harris, Director, Together (Scottish Alliance for Children’s Rights)

Marguerite Hunter Blair, Chief Executive, Play Scotland

Lesley Fox, Chief Executive Officer, Smart Play Network

Genna Millar, Project Coordinator, Dundee Bairns

Kevin Kane, Policy and Research Manager, YouthLink Scotland

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