SCOTTISH Borders Council has appointed a team of 13 young volunteers to take on the challenging role of a youth commissioner and amongst them are three youngsters from Berwickshire.
Earlier this year, the council established a Youth Commission on Bullying to make recommendations on approaches to the prevention and management of bullying behaviour for a new education and lifelong learning policy.
This exciting and dynamic approach to policy making is a first in any Scottish local authority. Young people as the users of services will be given a blank page to come up with evidenced, informed and innovative recommendations for the politicians and policy makers to consider.
The team of youth commissioners- including Berwickshire trio Chris Haynes, Emily Lerpiniere and Melanie Miller, will be supported by an advisory board including representation from within SBC and its partner organisations – Lothian and Borders Police, NHS Borders, RespectMe, and Young Scot.
The youth commissioners will meet for fortnightly sessions where they will work together to develop research methods, gather evidence, discuss ideas, undertake training and organise events and activities – all of which will contribute to the work of the Commission.
The new youth commissioners were selected after a rigorous application process including a written application and participation in a selection day in July hosted by Borders College.
Since their appointment the youth commissioners have undertaken two full days of training and induction – where they have met advisory board members, developed understanding of equalities and diversity issues, gained knowledge of the national perspectives on bullying behaviour and were introduced to social research methods.
Looking forward to what is to come, Emily from Duns, said: “I’m excited to be a part of this scheme. It’s certainly a brand new approach to take and from my point of view that’s exactly what’s been needed.
“It’s all been excellently organised and the support we’re receiving from Susan and the Advisory Board is great. The enthusiasm of the team is amazing and we’ve all clicked and get on really well together as a group.”
Susan Robb, the youth commission’s facilitator, added: “The energy, enthusiasm, and experience of each of the youth commissioners will make this a great volunteer team.
“The possibility for change to be created as a result of the ideas of young people is very exciting for the local authority.
“I am delighted by the commitment that the youth commissioners have shown and their willingness to learn, and to develop their own ideas by listening to others.”