THE voices and views of young people from the Lockerbie area were heard loud and clear on Tuesday.
For they had the chance to tell Scotland’s Children and Young People’s Commissioner, Nicola Killean what is important to them.
She visited Lockerbie Academy to speak to the student members of the Rights Respecting Committee, to gauge their views on school and home life, their experiences in this region and their thoughts and suggestions on how things need to change for youngsters, both locally and nationally.
It is part of a national conversation by Nicola, and her team, in which they are asking young people about the issues that matter to them to shape the office’s work.
All the feedback gathered will help guide a four-year plan to promote and protect children’s rights, which she will present to the Scottish Parliament later this year.
Speaking in Lockerbie, Nicola Killean – above – said: “Today we have been talking about education, mental health, discrimination, poverty and climate change.
“We are gathering their views and suggestions. Their viewpoints are so helpful for us. I have been very grateful for it. It’s always really inspiring, really humbling how generous they are and how quickly they engage and share.”
Discussing what happens next, Nicola said: “We will make decisions in the next couple of months on what needs to change to improve things for children and young people
“My role is about being a champion for children and young people. It’s important for us to demonstrate to them that when they speak up, they are heard.
“We need to keep encouraging children to tell us the truth and we, as adults, have a responsibility to make it better.”
Teacher Karen Campbell facilitated Tuesday’s session and was impressed by the youngsters and their contributions, saying: “They have a voice within school, as part of the Rights Respecting committee, but now they have a voice within Scotland. Wow.”
Meanwhile, there’s still an opportunity for all young people to have their say via an online consultation. It can be found at www.smartsurvey.co.uk/s/your_rights_our_plan/ and is open until the end of January.