Young Carers Scottish Parliament Tour
On the 5th of September 2019, four young carers between the ages of 12 to 18, with their lucky chaperones had the opportunity to go for a tour of the Scottish Parliament led by Minister for Equalities, Christina McKelvie, followed by First Minister's Questions.
This experience gave them a chance to have a glimpse of Parliamentary life, and a chance to put their questions to a Minister. The opportunity was part of the Young Carers Package; a package of enhanced discounts, Rewards and special opportunities for young carers aged 11- 18. Other highlights from the package are free cinema tickets, discounts on schoolwear and travel.
Highlight from the day-
Being able to hear what other young Carers had to say from other parts of Scotland
They began the day with a meeting with Christina McKelvie, Minister for Older People and Equalities. She explained to the group her role in government and policy, and answered any questions the group had while they enjoyed some home-made Parliament shortbread! The group discussed the barriers young carers face in Scotland today and how we can work to combat them and make their lives easier. They all got to share some of their experiences with accessing support available for young carers from around Scotland and their visions for further help and opportunities to be expanded for young people like them, including their ideas for the future of the Young Carer Package!
‘It gave me an insight into the world of politics.'
They then went for a tour of the Parliament with a great tour guide Catherine who told them lots of interesting information about how the parliament was created, the design of the building and how the political system works here in Scotland! They got the chance to see the Garden Lobby, which features twelve leaf-shaped roof lights, and learn about the Parliamentary bees in the garden. The tour also stopped outside the Arniston Stones which are positioned above the doorway which leads to the Debating Chamber. They were previously part of the pre-1707 Scottish Parliament building and consequently they are one of the key symbolic links between the new Scottish Parliament building and Scotland’s history.
Afterwards the group headed into the chamber for First Minister's Questions. It was a lively session, as it was the first one back after summer and there was lots of back and forth between the politicians from each party which made for a riveting watch. It was the first time any of the group had ever been to Parliament and it was definitely an exciting FMQs to observe.
Outside, there was time for photographs to end the day! The group all enjoyed their chance to visit the Parliament and to speak to a Minister about their role, whilst meeting young carers from around the country.
Another highlight of the day-
‘The most interesting part for me was watching First Minister's Questions and being able to see what happens during this time rather than just watching through a TV screen.’