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Evaluation of Community Mental Health Services

April 2022 - October 2022

Scottish Youth Parliament and Children in Scotland supported a group of MSYPs to work as a peer investigation team to evaluate the mental health and wellbeing community support and services for 5–24-year-olds, their parents and carers. 

The investigation team developed and delivered an evaluation framework and report in order to make recommendations to the Scottish Government’s Children and Young People’s Mental Health and Wellbeing Joint Delivery Board (click here to visit) 

The investigation team worked with a range of local authorities across Scotland to evaluate services funded by the Scottish Government as part of its commitment to improve support for children and young people’s mental health and wellbeing in Scotland. 

Children in Scotland staff especially enjoyed supporting the MSYPs to engage with younger children through a range of creative and accessible methodologies. 

If you would like more details, please contact David Mackay,

Partner: Scottish Youth Parliament

A youth-led, democratic organisation which aims to represent the young people of Scotland.

Click to find out more

Looking for Support?

Help and support is available right now for anyone who needs it. No one has to struggle with difficult feelings alone. Click the link below for an NHS list of support services.

Click to find out more

Children's Rights and the UNCRC Training

Bridging Policy and Practice: Bespoke rights training tailored to your organisation’s needs: when, where, and how you want it.  

Children’s Rights Revolution

Scotland is on the road to a children’s rights revolution, with policymakers and practitioners working to embed rights across policy, strategic planning and practice to make Scotland the best country to grow up in.

Embedding rights and incorporating the UNCRC (United Nations Convention on the Rights of The Child) into Scots law will have a huge impact on organisations across the country – including public bodies, private sector organisations and third sector organisations. It will include new requirements, updates to policies and changes to practice to make sure children and young people across the country can fully realise their rights.

UNCRC Training Offer

This flexible and tailored training offers a comprehensive introduction to children’s rights in a Scottish context for practitioners across the third sector.

Designed and delivered by Children in Scotland’s experienced and respected Policy, Projects and Participation team, this bespoke training gives practitioners space to reflect on children’s rights in the context of their own practice and consider changes to embed rights more strongly in their day-to-day work. It also gives organisations an opportunity to plan out their next steps to better realise children’s rights in their policies, practices and strategies.

Click here to view a guide to the different training options

This training offers:

  • Access to an e-module designed specifically for third sector professionals to improve their understanding of the UNCRC and children’s rights.
  • Flexible and tailored training: organisations can choose a training length that suits them and have the training tailored for the organisation.

As a training participant, you will gain:

  • A deeper understanding of the background to the UNCRC, and the key articles and principles that underpin it
  • Insight into children’s rights in the Scottish context, including the journey to UNCRC incorporation and the duties
  • The ability to make connections between your practice and the different UNCRC articles, enabling you to grow your rights-based practice
  • Practical tips and signposting to resources and further learning.

Book training

Please contact our Events team at to discuss your child rights training needs.

Children's Rights Training Brochure

Download a brochure which outlines the different training options.

Click here to download

Participation with young people

Learn more about the practice of meaningful participation and engagement with children and young people

Click here to find out more

Our eLearning Hub

We have a range of free online learning courses to support children's rights and the principles of rights-based participation

Click here to find out more

Learning & Events

Want to keep learning? Find out what courses we have on offer in our open learning programme

Click here to explore

Youth Advisory Group - Suicide Prevention


Children in Scotland is pleased to partner with the University of Stirling’s Department of Nursing, Midwifery and Allied Health Professionals (NMAHP) to deliver the Suicide Prevention Youth Advisory Group.  

The panel of 16-25 year olds meets regularly to gather and share views to inform policy development. The group have a key role in supporting the delivery of Scotland’s Suicide Prevention Strategy and Action Plan: Creating Hope Together (click here to access).

The group directly advise and support the work of Suicide Prevention Scotland and ensure work is informed by the experiences of young people with lived experience of suicidality or a bereavement by suicide.  

Suicide Prevention Scotland is a community of people working together across different parts of Scotland to prevent suicide across our country by developing strong partnerships and using these to learn from best practice.   

Across the first two years of the project we have worked on a number of topics with the group including supporting the Scottish Government to develop its Time, Space, Compassion approach. We have also engaged with NES to consider the One Good Adult resource and how this supports young people in crisis. 

What are the Youth Advisory Group saying? 

The group has recently identified the priorities for its work going forward and aims to work with key partners from Suicide Prevention Scotland on:  

  • The Time Space Compassion approach
  • Peer support
  • Understanding of suicide risk and behaviour amongst children and young people
  • Supporting the roll-out of suicide reviews and improving use of data to help redesign the way support is given to people who are suicidal — ensuring that support is both timely and effective.
  • Working with partners in high-risk settings for suicide, to build effective and compassionate suicide prevention action plans.
  • Supporting the development of the United to Prevent Suicide social movements

Click below to watch a film published by Suicide Prevention Scotland in December 2023 about the work of the Youth Advisory Group.

 How can I get involved?

The group is for young people aged 16-25 who have tried to take their
own life, who have experience of suicidal thoughts or for those who suffer from poor mental health. It is also for people who have
experienced suicide (please note that two years must have passed
since the bereavement before you can get involved).

The group meets every month, some meetings are online and others are in-person. The group provides the opportunity to meet new people and share ideas. It creates a space to talk about how young people can get better support and experience better wellbeing.

Importantly, it’s a really good chance to be involved in making a change in Scotland and to ensure young people’s views are being heard. 

I enjoy being part of the group as I get to use my lived experience to inform policy,' - Youth Advisory Group Member

If you are interested in getting involved, please get in touch with Chris Ross:

Please also note, all members of the group must have a supporting adult/referring organisation to provide support. You can find out more about this on the information sheet (click here to read the information sheet).

Participation Network 

As part of our work to deliver the Suicide Prevention Youth Advisory Group, Children in Scotland and University of Stirling have also been asked to facilitate a wider participation network. This is to support us to continue to hear from other young people and the practitioners that work with them. 

The Participation Network ensures that  can hear from practitioners about their experiences of working with children and young people with experience of suicidality. 

The group meets bi-monthly and offers an opportunity for practitioners to learn about national work, feed into national policy development and share good practice.  

Find out more about the project 

For more information about this project or to enquire about involvement in our group or network, please contact Chris Ross:

Interested in getting involved?

We are currently inviting applications to join the group. Have a look at our information sheet for further details

Click to find out more

Looking for support?

Help and support is available right now for anyone who needs it. No one has to struggle alone

Click for links to support

Suicide Prevention Scotland

Suicide Prevention Scotland is a community of people working together across different parts of Scotland to prevent suicide across our country.

Click to find out more

Partner: COSLA

Click to find out more

Partner: Scottish Government

Click to find out more

Partner: University of Stirling NMAHP

University of Stirling’s Department of Nursing, Midwifery and Allied Health Professionals (NMAHP)

Click to find out more

Stay connected

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Looking for Support? 

Breathing Space - Call 0800 83 85 87
 A free, confidential, phone and webchat service for anyone in Scotland over the age of 16 experiencing low mood, depression or anxiety.
Weekdays: Mon-Fri 9pm to 2am / Weekends: 24 Hours 

NHS24 - Call 111
Scotland’s provider of digital health and care services delivered by phone and through a range of digital channels including online platforms.
Mon-Thurs 6pm to 8am / Fri 6pm to Mon 8am 

Samaritans - Call 116 123
 If you need someone to talk to, Samaritans will listen.
24/7 365 days a year 

Shout (text-based support) - Text 85258
A free, confidential, 24/7 text messaging support service for anyone who is struggling to cope. 
24/7 (texts free from all major UK networks) 



Street League Youth Advisory Group

March - December 2022

Children in Scotland was pleased to work with Street League to help the organisation set up a youth advisory group to make sure young people's voices are heard and considered in all aspects of their work.

We supported Street League to recruit 10-12 young people with a diverse range of experiences and establish an advisory group. Using a child's rights-based approach, we helped Street League develop its participation work .

Young people were supported to get to know each other, feel empowered to share their views, and influence all aspects of Street League's work to ensure it best supports young people across Scotland.

Click here to learn more about the Advisory Group and to apply

About Street League
Street League uses the power of sport to give young people the opportunities they need to succeed in life and the workplace.

They work across Scotland to offer you people the opportunity to get fit, have fun, build skills, and gain qualifications. They help young people move into work, college, an apprenticeship or training.

Click here to visit Street League's website

For more information about the work contact David Mackay,

Partner: Street League

Using the power of sport to tackle poverty & give young people the opportunities they need to succeed in life and the workplace.

Find out more

Stay connected

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Scotland’s Children’s Strategic Recovery Framework and Summer Work 

April 2021 - July 2021

The Scottish Government commissioned us to engage with children and young people to understand the impact of COVID-19 and to shape their plans from summer 2021 onwards.

This project informed how the Scottish Government's wider Scotland COVID -19 Strategic Framework could best support children, young people and families to navigate and recover from the pandemic.

Between April and July 2021, Children in Scotland delivered 4 online sessions supporting children and young people to share their experiences and ideas in relation to COVID-19 restrictions and recovery plans. The information we gathered was shared with the Scottish Government as the project progressed and fed into the development of the ‘Get into Summer’ programme. This report brings the findings from across the project together, with a series of recommendations to inform future planning and decision-making.

Click to read the final report

For more information about this project, please contact David Mackay on 

Our Partner: the Scottish Government

This project was commissioned by the Scottish Government

Visit the website

Scotland’s Children’s Strategic Recovery Framework Report

Click below to read the project findings and full report.

Read report

How young people's participation impacts on policy making

We did a report on the impact young people’s participation has had on policy-making in Scotland

Read the report

Participation & Engagement Guidelines

We developed guidelines for achieving meaningful participation with young people

Download the guidelines


Access All Arts Fund 

Unlock Your Creative Potential!


The Access All Arts Fund is an exciting project to help support children and young people, aged 11-25 and who live in Scotland, to access creative arts opportunities and support wellbeing.

We believe the arts (things like drawing and painting, making music, creative writing and acting) are for everyone. Creative activities like these are great fun, they help children and young people to learn new skills and they can support people express themselves and feel good.

But we know many young people face barriers to art and creativity, including disability, poverty, and poor mental health. The Access All Arts Fund was designed to help overcome these barriers by providing direct funding to children and young people to take part in creative activities.

This fund has been developed by young people for young people, with children and young people’s voices and ideas are at the heart of the project.

History of the Access All Arts Fund

In 2021, Children in Scotland supported a group of children and young people to create the Access All Arts Fund. The fund was developed by children and young people who have experienced their own barriers to the arts, who were able to share some of their own unique perspectives. The Access All Arts Fund was created as part of Creative Scotland’s Nurturing Talent Fund: New Routes programme to support more children and young people with additional support needs or a disability to apply for arts-related funding to explore their creative passions.

In 2022-2023, the Fund expanded to consider a wider range of barriers in order to support more children and young people to apply for the funding. A clear focus of the fund is supporting children and young people’s access to creative activities to support their wellbeing.

To date, the fund has supported 267 children and young people with grants totalling just over £154,000. The funded projects include a broad range of creative activities including visual art, music, film and TV, dance and creative writing. You can read about the project and its impact in the reports below.

Please click here to read the Year Two project report (December 2023)
Please click here to read the Year One project report (April 2022)

How can I apply?

Children in Scotland will be launching Year Three of the Access All Arts Fund in summer 2024.

For more details about the project, or to register your interest in the fund, please contact David Mackay

A cartoon drawing of ballet shoes, drama mask, a microphone and a pencil and notebook. The Access All Arts Fund logo in the centre.

Access All Arts Fund - Year 2 Report

Find out more about the activity and successes during the second year of the Fund

Click here to access

Access All Arts Fund - Year 1 Report

Final report summarising the activity of the fund.

Click to find out more

Youth Arts Funding recipients announced

Children in Scotland chosen to deliver a Nurturing Talent Fund to respond to the needs of young disabled artists

Click here to find out more

Access All Arts Fund Year 2 Launch

Young people across Scotland encouraged to Access All Arts as phase two of Fund launches

Click here to find out more

Access All Arts Fund A4 Colour Poster

A downloaded A4 PDF poster about the fund in colour.

Click here to find out more

Access All Arts Fund A4 Greyscale Poster

A downloaded A4 PDF poster about the fund in greyscale.

Click here to find out more

Partner: Creative Scotland

The Access All Arts Fund is part of Creative Scotland's Nurturing Talent Fund New Route Programme

Click to find out more

Elections: Children's Sector Strategic and Policy Forum

28 June 2021

We are now recruiting new members to our Children's Sector Strategic and Policy Forum.

The Forum takes a pro-active and evidence-based approach to improving children’s lives at a strategic, national level. At the Forum, senior members pool their knowledge and expertise to come together and help identify children’s sector-wide solutions. 

As the national network for the children’s sector, Children in Scotland co-ordinates and holds the Secretariat. Meetings are chaired by Children in Scotland's CEO. Click here to learn more about the work of the Forum.

Recruitment to the Forum

The Forum is a 30-member group. There are 12 places available at this time, with a range of positions filled by current Forum members. The election will operate on a thematic basis. Each theme has an allotted number of places available. The thematic areas, the number of available places under each theme and the definitions for thematic areas are as follows.

  • Education (2 places)Your organisation works to support the Scottish education sector, defined as those providing education and learning opportunities to children aged 5-18 and older where they are care experienced or have additional support for learning needs.
  • Help & Support, inc health and wellbeing, ASN etc (3 places)Your organisation works in the community to support the holistic needs of children, young people and their families to support them to engage with the other services they use
  • Early years, early learning and childcare & family support (2 places)Your organisation works with children, young people and their families in the pre-school years to promote positive outcomes.
  • Parents (1 place)Your organisation works with parents to ensure their voice is heard in discussions and decisions about their children.
  • Equalities (1 place)Your organisation works with minority groups to ensure that their needs are met in policy/decision making.
  • Other (2 places)Your organisation is a member of Children in Scotland but does not fit into any of the categories listed above.

Eligibility to apply

  • Your organisation is a member of Children in Scotland
  • You are the Chief Officer of the organisation (or Scottish equivalent)
  • You are able to commit to 4 meetings over the next year in Edinburgh
  • You are able to represent the interests of children, families and the children’s sector at a national level.
  • You have knowledge of the strategic challenges in your sector and are able to advocate for strategic change to support children, young people and families rather than focus on the needs and interests of your organisation
  • You are willing and able to lead discussions and present papers to the Forum as and when required. 

Submitting an application

All those who wish to stand will have to confirm that they meet the Forum’s eligibility criteria. They will also be required to provide a summary of 200 words outlining their reason for standing and why they think their input will be of value for the Children’s Sector Strategic and Policy Forum. Please send your application to stand to Dana Vreeswijk:

All Children in Scotland members will be able to vote in the elections. All members will receive the same number of votes regardless of the size of their organisation.

Children in Scotland will disseminate campaign literature to our membership including a booklet with information on candidates standing for election and the rules for voting.

Timescales and deadlines

The deadline for applications is Monday 16 July.

If you have any questions about the election process or standing for election please contact Dana Vreeswijk,

Election information sheet

Download, print and share our information sheet about the elections.

Click to download the sheet

More about the Forum

Find out more about the work and priorities of the Children's Sector Strategic and Policy Forum.

Click to find out more

Be part of our network

It's easy to register - this costs nothing and provides you with a range of benefits.

Click to find out more

Join us in membership

Becoming a Children in Scotland member means adding your voice to a growing network.

Click to join us

Our projects

As part of achieving our vision that all children in Scotland have an equal chance to flourish, we undertake a wide range of work.

Click to find out more

Street Sense: Road Safety Resource

April - June 2021

Children in Scotland was pleased to work with Transport Scotland and The Gate on this project.

Children in Scotland staff also worked with the pupils and staff at Dean Park Primary School, Edinburgh to review a new road safety resource for primary schools created by Transport Scotland. They discussed what do children want to know about road safety and how do they want to learn about it as they progress through primary school.

A summary report about the project has been published.

The final primary school resource was launched in Spring 2022 and is called Road Stars.

Click here to view the Road Stars resource

For more information about the work contact David Mackay,

Street Sense Summary Report

Summary report on road safety for Transport Scotland and children and young people.

Read Report

Partner: The Gate

A strategic brand and comms hub.

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Partner: Transport Scotland

The national transport agency for Scotland, delivering the Scottish Government's vision for transport

Find out more

Stay connected

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Children’s wellbeing and the Scottish budget


We worked in partnership with Dr Katherine Trebeck (Wellbeing Economy Alliance), the Carnegie Trust UK and early years funder Cattanach to raise awareness of what a robust child wellbeing approach to the Scottish budget would involve.

The project involved desktop research complemented by strategic interviews, with the aims of:

  • Exploring the layers of root causes that undermine children’s wellbeing
  • Setting out the importance of a government budget that provides for investment rather than tackling symptoms of, for example, deprivation
  • Examining the expected benefits of a wellbeing budget and how to design the budget accordingly
  • Making recommendations about the the key changes required to government systems, budget-making processes, and the culture around them, to deliver on this ambition.

Key areas of attention encompassed international best practice and ways to harness the National Performance Framework (NPF) to link government expenditure to interventions and preventative spend that improve children’s wellbeing.

The research project took a root cause perspective and examined why a life-stages approach to outcome-based budgeting underpins the attainment of a wellbeing economy.

In light of NPF evidence that the wellbeing of children in Scotland is not improving fast enough, and in the context of aspirations for post-Covid renewal, the project aimed to support a potentially transformational ambition for a Scottish children’s wellbeing budget.

Final report and associated work

Dr Katherine Trebeck's final project report, Being Bold: Building Budgets for Children's Wellbeing, was published in March 2021.

Click here to read the report

A comment piece by project partner Jen Wallace (Head of Policy, Carnegie UK Trust) was published in the Herald newspaper on the day the report launched.

Click here to read Jen Wallace's article in the Herald

The project’s aims inform many of the themes and calls in our 2021-26 Manifesto.

Click here to read the Manifesto

Although the report has been published, advocacy work on its findings and calls continue. For more information please contact our Head of Policy, Projects and Participation, David Mackay,

Building Budgets for Children’s Wellbeing

Dr Katherine Trebeck's final report was published on 18 March 2021

Download the report

Making budgets with wellbeing in mind

Jen Wallace discusses the topic on pages 31-32 of our Manifesto-themed magazine

Read the magazine

2021-26 Manifesto: PDF version

Download a PDF booklet of the Manifesto to read our themes and calls

Download PDF

Live Music and Mental Health (2021 - )

In 2021, Children in Scotland led a unique, multi-partner research project that examined the impact of live music experiences on the mental health and wellbeing of children and young people.

The Special Interest Research Group was led by Children in Scotland in collaboration with Scottish Ensemble, University of Stirling, the Scottish Government and Children in Scotland’s children and young people’s advisory group, Changing our World.

The project reflected the organisations’ hope that, in the wake of the pandemic, live music can be made an accessible part of mental health improvement activity.

The project studied the evidence for this from the perspective of children and young people, looking at the impact of different factors such as location and performance type, and how experiences vary based on age and protected characteristics, such as disability, sexuality or race.

Through the project’s research we wanted to identify how barriers such as poverty and other forms of disadvantage can be overcome.

More information about the project

We ran four workshops over summer 2021, engaging with others working in related areas for a series of research discussions.

The University of Stirling brought research expertise to the project, while the Scottish Government’s Mental Health Division has had direct access to learning from the research to help shape government policy.

Young members of Changing our World steered the group’s focus and collaborate with other members to discuss the findings and agree recommendations.

The Special Interest Research Group, led by Children in Scotland and Scottish Ensemble, is one of 18 supported by Emerging Minds, a UK- wide research network aiming to reduce the prevalence of mental health problems experienced by young people.

Click to read the workshop briefing.

For more information, please contact:

David Mackay, Head of Policy, Projects and Participation:

Project partner: Scottish Ensemble

A pioneering string orchestra regularly performing across Scotland, the UK and the world

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Project partner: University of Stirling

Learn more about the university, which offers world-class research and innovative teaching

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Project partner: the Scottish Government

The government's Mental Health Division will use project learning to shape policy

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Music Cities Convention

Hear Amy Woodhouse discuss this project on 9-11 February at this year's Music Cities Convention.

Register for free ticket

Live Music and Mental Health 2021 Report

This briefing provides a short overview of the four workshops and an analysis of the discussions.

Read Report

Emerging Minds

A UK research network aiming to reduce rates of young people experiencing mental health problems

Find out more

Project partner: Changing our World

Our children and young people's advisory group will help to steer the project

Find out more

'Music has the ability to inspire'

Scottish Ensemble and Children in Scotland staff preview the research in a short film

Watch the film