Youth Scotland partner with Scottish Government to hear the views of Young Islanders

In a white bar are the logos for Youth Scotland, Young Islander's Challenge and Scottish Government from left to right. In the background is an illustrated depiction of a map of an island.

EDINBURGH, UK (18 January 2020) – Youth Scotland today announced they have launched a new programme focussed on young people in Scotland’s island communities. 

Working in partnership with Scotland’s island communities and Scottish Government, Youth Scotland is launching a new programme for and about Scotland’s young islanders; aimed at understanding their views, concerns, hopes and ambitions, the programme will deliver the Young Islanders Network and the exciting Young Islander’s Challenge. 

Children and young people from all 96 of Scotland’s inhabited islands will be able to have their say and make their voice heard on issues in their communities through the setting up of a new forum, a challenge and celebratory event in March. 

The new Young Islands Network will enable children and young people to help shape the delivery of the National Islands Plan, ensuring that their interests and priorities are properly considered. 

The network will also give those involved an opportunity to build their confidence, develop key skills such as leadership and organisation and to develop new relationships and friendships with others. 

The network will explore issues such as the depopulation of islands and, crucially, will provide an opportunity for our young islanders to raise the issues that matter to them most and make their views known. 

Youth Scotland’s Chief Executive, Ian McLaughlan, said: 

“Youth Scotland believes in better outcomes for all young people – whether that’s in our urban cities and towns, rural communities or Scotland’s island communities. We are proud of our reach, membership and participation within the island communities. The Young Islander’s Challenge is another fantastic opportunity to not only be inclusive of young people living there, but to put them front and centre of a project for and about them.   

“Thanks to our partnership with the Scottish Government and our island communities, we can work together to deliver both short-term and lasting impact. I would urge any young person or group in our island communities to jump in, have your say and be part of something bigger!” 

Islands Minister, Paul Wheelhouse, said:  

“I am pleased that the Scottish Government is able to now establish this new and exciting network. The Network creates a great opportunity for children and young people on our islands to get involved in having their say and making their views known on key islands’ issues and to help shape the future of their communities.   

“Our extensive National Islands Plan consultation made it clear that a Network of this nature would be hugely beneficial, and that it will help to provide us with a better understanding of the experiences and views of children and young people and, through that, ultimately help us to create a better, more diverse living experience for all our islanders of all ages. 

“The Network will also be hugely beneficial to those involved, as they will have the chance to be part of an exciting project, gaining valuable insights and developing themselves at the same time. I encourage all children and young people living on our islands to get involved, if they can – and I say to them: if you take the time to make your voice heard, the Government and I will take the time to listen to you.”  

For editors:  

About the Young Islander’s Challenge and Network: 

The Young Islands Network will meet virtually, in line with current coronavirus restrictions. 

Groups involved in the network will be from Shetland; Orkney; Lewis & Harris; Uist and Barra; Skye; Mull; Islay; and Arran. 

The project will also include delivery of a 5 week online mental health awareness programme through Mental Health partners Place2Be for those working with young islanders. 

Young Islander’s Challenge ( ) 

About Youth Scotland:   

We are the largest national youth work organisation in Scotland, supporting 73,000 young people, 1,550 youth groups and over 8,600 youth workers. Youth Scotland has been around since the early 20th century and has a diverse membership network – from small rural youth groups to large urban projects. The common goal that we all share is better outcomes for young people.  

Our membership network is made up of local youth groups of all sizes, Area Associations and Youth Scotland staff who can provide support and training on a range of youth work topics. We are proud of the varied, universal youth work our network delivers and the innovative solutions our members create in an ever-changing youth work landscape.