First-ever Aberdeenshire youth engagement event is huge success

Children and young people’s rights were officially recognised when they created their own charter at the first event of its type in Aberdeenshire.

Inspirational guests at the #ABZYAP session included 2008 Big Brother: Celebrity Hijack winner and youth campaigner John Loughton and Bruce Adamson, Children and Young People’s Commissioner Scotland.

Young people attending the event in the Thainstone Exchange, Inverurie on Tuesday, August 29, had the chance to put their questions to Mr Adamson, and to Cllr Jim Gifford, Leader of Aberdeenshire Council; Jim Savege, Chief Executive of Aberdeenshire Council; Maria Walker, Director of Education and Children’s Services at Aberdeenshire Council and Kate Stephen, Partnership and Events Superintendent (North East Division) at Police Scotland.

A series of workshops on the day promoted youth engagement and participation, including the establishment of Youth Banks in Aberdeenshire. The launch of 17 #ABZYAP forums will help children and young people get involved in local community decision-making, and provide them with opportunities to influence development of local services.  

Cllr Gillian Owen, Education and Children’s Services Committee Chair, said: “I am so pleased to see Aberdeenshire Council and our partners working with young people to give them what they want and need; the fact that young people themselves helped decide on the program shows our commitment to listen to them.

“I am sure the children and young people who attended thoroughly enjoyed all the workshops and will be really inspired by those who gave insightful and captivating speeches.

“It is events such as this that highlight the positive difference children and young people make to society. I very much hope the young people who attended can encourage and inspire future generations.”

Cllr Mark Findlater, Education and Children’s Services Committee Vice-Chair, said: “The fact that Aberdeenshire Council and its partners have attracted such high profile guests demonstrates the commitment to encourage our young people to make a real difference.

“I am delighted to hear 120 children and young people from across Aberdeenshire attended this inaugural event. I hope that the success of the first #ABZYAP will lead to many more taking place in the future.”

Before the day concluded, young people posed for plenty of pictures in the #ABZYAP photo booth, and voted on what they wanted to see in Aberdeenshire’s Children and Young People’s Charter; part of Aberdeenshire Council and Community Planning Partners commitment to Children’s Rights in Aberdeenshire’s Children’s Services Plan.  

The event was run and supported by Aberdeenshire Council, led by representatives from the Community Learning and Development Work With Young People Team, Aberdeenshire’s MSYP’s (Members of Scottish Youth Parliament), and Getting it Right for Every Child in Aberdeenshire leads. Other participating organisations included, Young Scot, Article 12, YouthBank, YouthLink, Dare2Lead, Scottish Youth Parliament, Aberdeenshire Youth Voice, Fixers, Youth Scotland, NHS Grampian and Aberdeenshire Voluntary Action.