New deal for youth parly

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A PAIR of pupils from Eastwood High School are on busy on the campaign trail for the Scottish Youth Parliament.

Nicole Dempster (16) and Neil Wood (14) both want to be the voice of East Renfrewshire young people at national level.

They are set to be elected to the SYP alongside Christopher Quinn, 20, of Barrhead.

Nicole, from Newton Mearns, is taking on the role currently studying for 
highers in English, maths, history, French and drama. She is also taking part in 
an SQA Scottish Youth Parliament 
course.

She told The Extra: “I want to engage with young people at both a local and national level.

“I am to represent the needs and wants of young people in my area, acting as a voice for them,

“I would do this through consulting a variety of young people, aiming to be inclusive to all young people in my constituency.”

Neil lives with his mum, dad and sister Amy, and is in third year.

He said: “I’m passionate about being an MSYP — I’m interested in politics and current affairs and would like to study it at uni.

“I’m very keen to see young people represented – I feel strongly that young people’s views need fair and proportionate representation in the primarily adult world of politics.”

The Scottish Youth Parliament was created 1999. Members are aged between 14 and 25 and are democratically elected.

It aims to listen and recognise issues that are most important to young people across Scotland and ensures their voices are heard by decision makers.

Members are elected for two years and the next term begins in April. Votes are cast online.

East Renfrewshire has three seats in the SYP. As there are only three candidates standing, they will all automatically become elected when polls closetoday (Thursday 14 March).

Eastwood MSP Ken Macintosh is impressed with the enthusiasm displayed by the candidates.

He told The Extra:“It is great to see two local people running for office in the Scottish youth parliament. It is more important than ever that we get young people actively engaged in politics.

“Less than half of 18-year-olds actively use their votes and many feel disenfranchised.

“If the SYP can help to find ways of engaging our young people, then it should be supported as much as possible.”