IT’S power to the people as nine vie for Scottish Youth Parliament places. And one Maybole teenager is hoping her nomination will prepare her for a political future.
Kate Fleming, 16, of Maybole’s Cargill Road, is one of only two candidates contesting the Carrick, Cumnock and Doon Valley constituency, while Ayr has six potential Members of the Scottish Youth Parliament (MSYPs) battling for seats when polling opens next month.
The Scottish Youth Parliament – which is not party political – represents Scotland’s young people aged up to 25 years, aiming to ensure their voices are heard and action is taken on the issues that matter to them.
And while they may be small in number, Carrick’s nominees will have no less of a fight on their hands and Maybole’s Kate is up against South Ayrshire Youth Forum chairperson Maria McGough for her place in the parliament.
Keen sportswoman Kate, a fifth-year Carrick Academy pupil who has been a member of her school football team for the past four years, said she is unperturbed by the competition and excited at the prospect of making a difference.
Not afraid to speak up and oppose wrongs, Kate says she thinks she would make a good representative due to her excellent ability to listen and empathise, and her determination to bring about change.
She says she is particularly keen to improve young people’s access to the arts – which she sees as an “important life experience” – by organising more events locally or campaigning to make public transport to larger cities such as Glasgow more convenient.
“I feel there are so many things that people miss out on simply by not trying to get them, and I don’t want to be one of those people,” said Kate. “This is a good chance to meet new people and get some experience in politics.”
Kate’s future as an MSYP will be decided by the public when polling opens on March 4. Anyone aged 12-25 is eligible to vote before polls close on March 14 and the results will be announced on the evening of March 15.
If Kate is successful, she will serve a two-year term as an MSYP and will be expected to represent her constituency by being an active community member as well as attending national Scottish Youth Parliament sittings.
Councillor John Hampton, South Ayrshire Council’s Young Peoples’ Champion, said: “No matter who is elected on March 15, every one of these young people are already fine ambassadors for the area and I wish each of them the very best of luck as they seek election.”