Meet the Midlothian candidates for the Scottish Youth Parliament elections

Midlothian's Scottish Youth Parliament candidates. Top row (left to right) Mellisa Reidie, Blaine Ferguson and Aimee Gorrie. Bottom row (left to right) Caitlin Chambers and Emma Murray.
Midlothian's Scottish Youth Parliament candidates. Top row (left to right) Mellisa Reidie, Blaine Ferguson and Aimee Gorrie. Bottom row (left to right) Caitlin Chambers and Emma Murray.

Two weeks of voting for the Scottish Youth Parliament gets underway tomorrow (Friday) with five Midlothian candidates wanting your vote.

Melissa Reidie, Blaine Ferguson are standing for the Midlothian North and Musselburgh ward. While, hoping to represent Midlothian South and Tweeddale are Aimee Gorrie, Caitlin Chambers and Emma Murray.

Melissa(15)from Dalkeith, a Young Leader at Dalkeith Rainbows and Brownies groups, said: “I would like the chance to be a MSYP because I believe that I could make a difference for young people who live in Midlothian. I would also like to assure young people that they will get their voice heard,

“I am a young person who believes that they can make a massive difference. I feel passionate about my community and it’s young people and can see the issues that are effecting us and our community.

“Not enough is being done and I want to change this to ensure that more resources are being opened up for young people and positive change is made.

“I will ensure that young people from Midlothian can speak to me in a way that they feel comfortable. I will have a flexible approach along with different methods of communication such as email, social media and face to face drop ins for young people to contact me about a issue which is happening for them. I will also go out into the community, local primary/secondary schools to carry out surveys and hear what pupils and young people want to be done or changed.

“As an MSYP I would ensure that all the young people’s voices of my constituency were heard. I believe I can make a positive change and make a difference in our community.”

Blaine (15) from Loanhead, said: “I would like to be able to stand up for the rights of young people. I want to represent young people by taking their views on important matters affecting them and providing them with a voice to be heard. I want to lobby for change on issues such as mental health and education.

“I would have as many face-to-face conversations with young people as possible. I would like to be able to have drop-in sessions in public, easy to access places such as schools. However I recognise the importance of social media and would hope to have an active presence on social media.

“I know the issues that affect young people and would like to be a part of helping to eradicate these issues.

“Now more than ever young people have a chance to stand up for themselves, and I feel like I would be the perfect candidate to do this.”

Current MSYP for Midlothian South, Aimee (16) from Penicuik, is looking to hold onto her seat. She said: “I know exactly how difficult the job can be sometimes. But I know I am willing to put in the time and effort. I am passionate about the job and I will represent the young people of Midlothian to the best of my ability.

“I have the experience necessary to ensure that this job is done to the highest standard possible.

“There are many reasons as to why I want to be an MSYP but the main one is that I want the young people around me to have better access to mental health, their basic human rights and transportation.

“I have already been working on this as is example by the fact that over the last two years I have dedicated my time to trying to improve mental health services in Midlothian through the Midlothian youth platform. Additionally, I have also helped in the campaign to have the 52 rights of a child included in Scottish law.

“My current project is to improve public transport across Scotland. I want to continue my work with the Scottish youth parliament and ensure the young people of Midlothian are represented in a way that will make a difference for them.

“I have had a passion about issues affecting young people for a long time and I have become even more passionate over the last few years.

“As part of my job as an MSYP I must be able to consult with you, the young people of Midlothian. I have found that the most effective ways to do this is to be open to approach you with issues they may have whether this is in person, via social media or through email. Other methods I wish to use to consult in Midlothian would be workshops and surveys, these are most effective when I wish to get more specific information and I have found them to be quite useful when asking the right questions.”

Caitlyn (16) from Penicuik, volunteers at the Storehouse. She said: “I believe that I could make a difference for all the young people of Midlothian. I feel I can make a positive change for young people. I would ensure that all voices were heard and listened too. I am aware of the local issues and want to tackle them head on.

“I will communicate and consult with young people in my area by using social media and face to face surgeries as well as consulting at PSE classes and assemblies. I ensure that young people in my constituency are represented and have their voices heard by taking their issues to the correct people and not lost in red tape. As an MSYP I would make sure I feedback the outcomes from any meetings and let you know the progress of the concern. I would hold consultations more than just once to make sure the work and concerns are still relevant to your requests.

“You should vote for me as I am genuine, honest and passionate individual who is active within her community. I volunteer at The Storehouse in Penicuik, as well as being a peer mentor for the S1 pupils within Beeslack High School. In this role I help with any issues they may have settling in to High School, friendships or just someone to talk too. As an MSYP I would listen to all issues brought to me and work hard to change them for the better no matter how big or small.”

Emma (15) from Penicuik, said: “I would aim to give a voice to all young people in Scotland including minority groups who are often overlooked by our government. My primary aim is to reduce the negative impact that school has on our mental health. As an MSYP I would be given the valuable chance to fight for better access to mental health support and to make school a happier place for all pupils.

“In addition to this I would like to establish tutoring to be made available to all pupils in need without the extortionate costs. Furthermore I feel like this would be a once in a lifetime experience for me and it would give me the chance to make a difference in my community.

“As an MSYP I would aim to make sure that every voice is heard. I would consult with young people through social media as it is used by almost everyone and makes it much simpler for young people to show their opinion, for example using twitter or Instagram polls. I would also like to visit school and youth groups to talk face to face with young people about issues affecting them. In addition to this I think online surveys done within class would be an effective way to obtain feedback from people including those who don’t have access to social media.

“As an MSYP I would work to make sure that all young people are heard and treated with respect. I want to fight to obtain better mental health support including therapy and exam support for those who require it. I believe that this should be available to everyone without cost or a long waiting list.

“In addition to this I would also like to establish free tutoring provided by schools for those who require extra support. In the long term I would like to address the assessment methods used by the SQA and what could be done to make it less stressful for pupils.

“I want to make a difference and make school a happier place for all young people and I need your vote to do that.”

A Single Transferable Vote will take place in local high schools. If anyone else wishes to vote, who is not a high school pupil but resides in Midlothian, email julia.ellison@midlothian.gov.uk.

An election announcement will take place in the Midlothian Council Chambers on March 29.