Young Arbroath people attended the Scottish Parliament recently to discuss how services can be improved to support the needs of the disabled.
Enable’s Arbroath Avengers are a group 14 to 21-year-olds who have been involved in a nine-month ‘Young Scot Agents of Change’ project.
Supported by the national youth information and citizenship charity, Young Scot, the project recruited five groups of disabled young people from across Scotland to encourage them to explore ways in which they can influence local services, particularly when moving into adulthood.
The youth-led event brought together 60 disabled young people to share their various experiences and ideas for future change. The event was attended by the Children and Young People’s Minister, Aileen Campbell and Patrick Harvie MSP, and other influential figures.
Edward Haggerty (16) said: “I got involved in the project to help people with bullying, and to stop bullying, and to be helpful to young people who have disabilities. To make them feel welcome and to be helpful. I like working with Young Scot and it’s good that we’ve got to do this.”
Adam Kleppang (15) added: “I got involved in the project because it just seemed like a good thing to do, because it was fun but also so I could help other people with problems. This event is very important because we can express our ideas. We want the MSPs to take forward our ideas and raise even more awareness of bullying and try and show that it is not a good thing.”
The participants hope that their findings will inspire national and local government and other bodies to increase their efforts in engaging and responding to their needs in Arbroath.
Louise Macdonald, chief executive, Young Scot, said: “The Young Scot Agents of Change project has put young people’s ideas, experiences and solutions directly to the people who can help improve local services to suit their needs. We’d like to say a huge thanks to all our local partners and young people involved, who have worked to hard and have put so much passion to deliver the project.
“Young Scot Agents Of Change has amplified the voices of disabled young people but this is only the beginning. We’d urge any service provider, organisation or business to consider how they can involve disabled young people to influence their services, and make them more responsive to their needs.”