Re­gion’s youth ‘a shin­ing light’

Scot­land’s First Min­is­ter praises young­sters

Dumfries & Galloway Standard - - NEWS - Ben Ra­m­age

First Min­is­ter Ni­cola Stur­geon was in Dum­fries on Mon­day to launch a pro­gramme of events for Scot­land’s ground­break­ing Year of Young Peo­ple.

She un­veiled the plans at the Oa­sis Youth Cen­tre.

And she said it would “shine a light on the fan­tas­tic con­tri­bu­tion young peo­ple make” in the re­gion and across Scot­land.

The pro­gramme will cham­pion events dur­ing 2018, in­clud­ing a three-day fes­ti­val at Moat Brae, a STAGE IT! live events fes­ti­val in Dum­fries and a newly ex­panded two-day Youth Beatz fes­ti­val.

Ms Stur­geon told the Stan­dard it was sig­nif­i­cant to stage the launch in Dum­fries for two rea­sons.

She said: “Firstly, to send the very clear mes­sage the Year of Young Peo­ple is for all of Scot­land, not just the cen­tral belt. We want the events and ben­e­fits to touch ev­ery part of Scot­land.

“Sec­ondly, be­cause young peo­ple in Dum­fries and Gal­loway who have been work­ing on this pro­gramme of events have done an ab­so­lutely fan­tas­tic job, so it was my way of com­ing to recog­nise that and pay trib­ute to them.

“They’ve done a great job and I think in Dum­fries and Gal­loway the Year of Young Peo­ple is go­ing to be an out­stand­ing event.”

The First Min­is­ter, who spoke to var­i­ous groups on the day, be­lieves the re­gion can be a great ex­am­ple of youth par­tic­i­pa­tion to other ar­eas of Scot­land.

She added: “Based on what I’ve seen today, yes, it is in many a re­spects a shin­ing light.

“Some of the the­atre work I’ve seen today, the per­for­mances I heard, the plans for the mu­sic fes­ti­val say there is much great work be­ing done by youth work­ers and young peo­ple in Dum­fries and Gal­loway.”

Coun­cil­lor Adam Wil­son, the coun­cil’s Young Peo­ples Cham­pion, said: “The fact the na­tional launch hap­pened here is re­ally im­por­tant.

“It could have hap­pened in the SECC or at Ed­in­burgh Cas­tle but it’s hap­pened here be­cause of the work we as a lo­cal au­thor­ity – along with other part­ners – have done to im­prove the lives of our young peo­ple.”

A group of young lead­ers called Com­mu­nic18 will work with or­gan­i­sa­tions through­out 2018 to de­liver events.

The re­gion’s rep­re­sen­ta­tive Lau­ren Asher, 18, said: “It’s been a re­ally good ex­pe­ri­ence al­low­ing us to show what the young peo­ple in Dum­fries and Gal­loway can do.

“It was re­ally good for young peo­ple here to share their work with Ni­cola Stur­geon.

“A lot of these events hap­pen in Glas­gow or Ed­in­burgh, which isn’t a prob­lem, but it’s been a real hon­our to have this here in Dum­fries.”

Fif­teen-year-old Kate Kyle, an S4 pupil at Dum­fries High, per­formed an orig­i­nal song for Ms Stur­geon on just two weeks’ no­tice.

She said: “It was re­ally ex­cit­ing to per­form for Ni­cola. She con­grat­u­lated me after­wards and said she hopes to see me fa­mous one day.”

Shake on it First Min­is­ter Ni­cola Stur­geon meets young­ster at the Oa­sis cen­tre

All smiles First Min­is­ter was in Dum­fries to launch Year of Young Peo­ple events

Selfie time The First Min­is­ter grabs a photo with some of the young­sters

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