A Royal Date for Young People

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Young people from across Scotland gave HRH Prince Harry and Ms Markle a day to remember during their first trip to Scotland, by offering them a glimpse of what the Year of Young People 2018 has in store, at a reception in Holyrood Palace (13th February 2018).

Around 50 young people aged 8 to 26 years, involved in the Scottish Government’s themed-year programme, were invited to meet HRH as part of the couple’s first visit to Scotland. The First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon and Maree Todd, Minister for Early Years and Year of Young People 2018 also attended.

The event  showcased the range of activities, events and young people who make up the Year. The Royal couple were treated to slam poetry, music and dance performances, as well as getting the opportunity to speak to LGBT campaigners and young people who are delivering events as part of the year, such as TEDX Youth and Edinburgh International Film Festival.

HRH met also young people playing an important role in influencing policy and decision making across the six themes for the Year – education, health and wellbeing, enterprise and regeneration, culture, participation and equality and discrimination.

Young people have been involved in designing the Year, with more than 500 active as Year of Young People 2018 Ambassadors in their communities.

Speaking at the event, Charlotte Liddell, aged 20, an Ambassador from Fife, said:

“This year has already given me so many amazing opportunities but meeting Prince Harry and Ms Markle and sharing my story with them has been a once in a life-time experience.

“I was labelled a certain way because I am a young parent. But I am also a young carer, the First Minister’s mentee and a volunteer. For me, Year of Young People has handed young people their own microphone – it’s time we start listening and stop labelling young people.”

One of the youngest participants of Year of Young People, Ben, aged eight from Glasgow, said:

“My role is to make sure young people get their say on issues which matter most to them and that adults listen. It was a great to meet Prince Harry and tell him everything we have been doing in Scotland, even though he’s older we would still like him to take part!.”

Organisations leading and delivering specific strands of activity for Year were also invited including; Young Scot, Children in Scotland, Scottish Youth Parliament, YouthLink Scotland, VisitScotland, LGBT Scotland and Glasgow 2018 European Championships. Young people from Impact Arts, a charity who supports disadvantaged young people through art and creativity, performed for the Royal couple.

Louise Macdonald OBE, Chief Executive of Young Scot said,

“The royal reception was absolutely packed with inspirational young people. They were amazing and will have a left a lasting impression on Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. It’s brilliant that the future royal couple had the opportunity to meet just some of the young people who are working hard to make the Year of Young People 2018 really special.”

“The guests included Year of Young People 2018 Ambassadors, Communic18 – the co-design champions for the Year, The sportscotland Young People’s sport panel, Sunday Mail Young Scot Award winners and many others. The young people talked about a wide range of issues and projects that will have amazed Prince Harry and Meghan Markle and I’m sure young people would love to see them in Scotland again this year.”

HRH was presented with two tartan scarfs by WhoCares? Scotland, created by young people in care and Glasgow fashion designers Black Cherry Studio, which exists so that those in care have their own family identity together.

A full programme of events and activities for the Year is taking place across the whole of Scotland. The purpose of the Year is to showcase young people’s ideas and talents, create new cultural and sporting opportunities for them to shine and give them a stronger voice on issues affecting their lives

More information can be found at yoyp2018.scot or searching #YOYP2018 on Twitter

Gavin Edgar