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A Youth Voice Network for Scotland

October 2023-2026

On behalf of the Electoral Commission, Children in Scotland is working on an exciting new project to establish and maintain a Youth Voice Network for Scotland. This group will aim to increase the knowledge and understanding of democracy and politics amongst young people, while supporting consistency in political education.

The project will run from October 2023 until 2026, with the group meeting around four times per year. The group will be reviewing programmes created by the Electoral Commission and presenting new ideas for projects they develop. The group will create resources for ‘Welcome to Your Vote Week’, the UK Parliament general election and the 2026 Scottish Parliament election.

We are seeking to recruit a diverse group of participants from all across Scotland between the ages of 12-18 and with a range of lived experiences. Participants are not required to have any prior knowledge of democracy or politics. We would particularly welcome applications from those who have not had much interest or experience in politics before.

As part of the project, the Electoral Commission is also commissioning similar organisations within the other UK countries to create network groups. There may be opportunity for our group to work with their counterpart groups in Wales, Northern Ireland, and England to share ideas.

Click here to access an information sheet for young people

Click here to access the application form for the project

If you would prefer to send a note of interest or apply in a way that works better for you, please get in touch with us!

For more information on the project or to submit a note of interest, or send a completed application form, please contact Arran Goodfellow:

The deadline for applications is 5pm on Friday 19th January 2024.

The Electoral Commission

The independent body which oversees elections and regulates political finance in the UK

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

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Policy & Influencing

All our policy and influencing work is evidence-based and builds on our own research and data

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Participation & Engagement

This work is a key aspect of achieving our vision that all children in Scotland have an equal chance to flourish

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Live Music and Mental Health - Innovation Labs

May 2023 - October 2023

Children in Scotland, Scottish Ensemble and the University of Stirling delivered an exciting project aiming to create opportunities for more children and young people to access the mental health and wellbeing benefits of live music.

Between May and October 2023, the project partners worked with over 80 children and young people, musicians, youth workers and mental health professionals to deliver free Innovation Labs around the country. Participants came together to enjoy interactive live music performances from pioneering orchestra Scottish Ensemble, and explore the impact of live music on young people’s mental health and wellbeing.

The Innovation Labs also included a range of fun and engaging co-design activities supporting children and adults to work together to create new ideas about how to make live music more accessible to children and young people.

Our final report identifies the barriers that exist for children and young people and suggests some innovative ways to tackle these issues. It also provides some valuable learning about the co-design process.

You can read about our activity and findings in the project report:

Please click here to read the project report

Children in Scotland also worked alongside Braw Talent and one of the project participants to create a short animation about the project:

Please click here to watch the animation

The project builds upon research conducted in 2021, exploring the impact of live music experiences on children and young people’s mental health.

You can click here to find out more about the project.

The project was funded by the Scottish Government’s Youth Music Initiative through Creative Scotland and The Rayne Foundation.

To find out more information, please email David Mackay,

Live Music and Mental Health 2021 Report

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

Access 2021 Report

Project partner: Scottish Ensemble

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

More information

Project partner: University of Stirling

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

More information


Explore the work we undertake to support our vision that all children in Scotland have an equal chance to flourish

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Pupil Support Staff Learning Programme

March 2023-Present

Funding from The Promise Partnership's Keep The Promise Fund is providing us with the opportunity to deliver an exciting new project over the next two years.

We plan to develop and deliver a support and learning programme for pupil support staff using a co-production model – sounds easy, but we know it will take a lot of hard work!

The project will  build on the experience, expertise and passion of Children in Scotland and Enquire staff, children and young people with lived experience, and pupil support staff across the country.  

It will bring together several strands of work we’ve been involved in over recent years – meaningful participation, engagement and co-production, our contribution to the Independent Care Review, and providing pupil support staff with learning and development opportunities.  

The programme itself will be created using a truly collaborative and co-design approach with Children in Scotland staff and two working groups, that will remain involved throughout the project. One group will include children and young people with care experience and the other will include pupil support staff. The groups will work separately and together designing the programme, potentially delivering it, and updating and adapting it in light of feedback or changes.

White logos of Children in Scotland and The Promise on a pink background above pink text on a white background. Text says Promise Partnership Project

We envisage the project going through three phases:  

  • Creation of project identity and systems (March-June 2023)  
  • Exploration: Discover, Define and Develop (July-December 2023)  
  • Delivery: including evaluation and review (January 2024-March 2025). 

There is, however, flexibility. The working groups, supported by Children in Scotland staff, will be making decisions about programme content and delivery plus timelines. One of the first tasks will be working with our in-house Designer, to help develop a project ‘identity’ – the one on this page is just an interim one!  

Initially, the Children in Scotland team will be made up of: 

  • Lizz Toomey, Learning & Events Officer  
  • David Mackay, Head of Policy, Projects and Participation
  • Simon Massey, Head of Engagement & Learning  

We will soon start recruiting to the two working groups and will be sharing information here on the website and across our socials using #CiSPromise so please keep an eye out.  

Alternatively, you can email to express an interest in being involved or kept updated.

The Promise Scotland

Find out more about the work undertaken by The Promise

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Independent Care Review

Acess resoures, information and more

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Corra: The Promise Partnership

Funding and support to organisations and collaborations to #KeepThePromise

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Our Vision and Values

Find out more about the values that set out our organisational beliefs and qualities

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Our Strategic Plan 2023-2028

Read our plan which sets out what we aspire to do in the next five years

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The Scottish advice service for additional support for learning

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Our Manifesto for 2021-26

Our Manifesto outlines key suggested changes in policy and legislation - it contains 10 themes and 33 calls

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Alcohol marketing consultation – youth engagement project

January 2023 - April 2023

In November 2022, the Scottish Government published a series of proposals aimed at restricting alcohol advertising and promotion in Scotland, in recognition of the World Health Organisation’s findings that this is one of the top cost-effective ways to prevent and reduce alcohol-related harm.

Children in Scotland was commissioned by the Scottish Government to support children and young people to engage in the public consultation. We worked with a small focus group over five online sessions and developed a bespoke engagement pack for schools and community groups. In total, 113 children and young people were supported to learn about the consultation and to share their views and experiences about alcohol advertising and promotion in Scotland.

In general, the children and young people we engaged with wanted to see tighter restrictions for alcohol advertising and promotion. This included reducing alcohol sponsorship and advertising linked to sports teams and events, restricting the visibility of alcohol in local shops and supermarkets, and reducing alcohol advertising on television and online. They also felt restrictions on the content of alcohol advertisements would help to prevent “slick” and “glamourous” advertisements appealing to children and young people. However, the children and young people we spoke also had concerns about the financial impact tighter restrictions could have for business.

Click here to read the project report from our engagement work

This report will be included in the analysis of the responses to the Scottish Government’s public consultation, which is scheduled to be published in autumn 2023.

If you have any questions about the project, please contact David Mackay:

Join the project

Find out more about what's involved and how to apply

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Engagement Activity Pack

Help us gather views from young people aged 8 to 18 on how alcohol marketing is controlled in Scotland

Click here to download

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.

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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.

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Time to Talk Next Steps Scotland

Time to Talk Next Steps Scotland was a 12-month pilot programme trialling online support for young people aged 16-25 with additional needs in Scotland: hearing their voice, building confidence and supporting transitions.

Aim of the pilot

To determine the best models of support, and offer timely information to young people in Scotland with additional support needs, and to their parents and carers, as they transition into adulthood.

Are you between age 16 and 25? Unsure what your next steps could be?

If you answered 'yes' to the questions above (or know a young person who would), then the Time to Talk Next Steps Scotland pilot programme might be of interest to you!

Time to Talk Next Steps Scotland offers free online support for young people in Scotland in this age group with additional support needs. It is for young people who are experiencing anxiety, isolation and who have limited or no plans for the future. They may be in school or in college or have finished formal education and be unsure how to move forward.

How does it work?

After filling out a Request for Support form, young people will be allocated support from the programme and be introduced to a trained Associate.

They will meet the young person for an introduction and find out what will be most useful to help them move forward. This might be linking them with people, useful activities or contacts in the local area or providing them with individual sessions to build confidence and explore next steps to suit.


> Support will be tailored to each individual

> Young people will be linked to an associate for individual, remote sessions

> Trained staff will focus on: strengths, reducing anxiety, building confidence and countering social isolation

> This project will help young people to think about building independence by providing encouragement and motivation for their future

> We will enable young people and their families to link with local and national activities, and we will provide useful contacts and networks.

How to make a request for support

If you, or a young person you know, would like to receive support as part of Time to Talk Next Steps Scotland, please let us know some more information, by completing a Request for Support form.

Where possible, we encourage young people to fill out their own form to support a sense of ownership and engagement. But, if the young person would prefer somebody to complete the form for them, or if you are thinking of applying on behalf of a young person that is fine too.

Requests for support from this pilot project have now concluded

How we handle your data

> Click here to view our privacy policy

What happens next?

Direct support, for 45 young people, will run over six months (July 2022 to December 2022) and we will start allocating places from August 2022.

Everyone who makes a Request for Support will be notified within six weeks or less about whether they have been assigned a Time to Talk Next Steps Associate.

Click here to learn more about the pilot:

Project partners:

Time to Talk Next Steps Scotland

The project, a partnership with NDTi and Contact, was announced in February

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Find out more about the National Development Team for Inclusion (NDTi)

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Find out more about the aims and work of Contact

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National Lottery Community Fund

Find out more about the Fund and the work it supports across the country

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Our services

We offer a range of services that provide advice and representation for children and families

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Explore the wide range of work we undertake to support children and families

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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

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Partner: Scottish Government

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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) 



Crown Estate Scotland’s Future Forum


Following on from our previous work with Crown Estate Scotland (click here to explore), they asked us to work with them to set up and support their new children and young people’s advisory group.

This group allows children and young people to inform and influence Crown Estate Scotland’s work, helping to ensure that their activity takes account of a range of opinions and perspectives.

Over the past year, the group has created its vision statement, learned about the Crown Estate Scotland's work, visited their site at the Glenlivet Estate, met with their Board and have chosen their focus areas. The group are currently working on renewable energy and are looking forward to influencing the Crown Estate's work in this area.

The project is now in its second year out of three, and we are looking for children and young people aged between 11 and 21 years old to join the Forum.

Please download the project information sheet and application and consent form from this page to find out more and apply.

The deadline for applications is 5pm, Friday 20 October 2023.

If you would like to apply, or have any questions about this project, please email Parisa,

Our thanks to Crown Estate Scotland for the images on this page.

Project information sheet

Download more details about the project and what’s involved

Click here to download

Application and consent form

These are the forms we need you to complete before taking part in the project

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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