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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 are working on an exciting new project to open up opportunities for children and young people to access live music.

Between May and October 2023, we are working with more than 75 children and young people, musicians, youth workers and mental health professionals to deliver free Innovation Labs around the country. Participants will enjoy live performances from pioneering orchestra Scottish Ensemble - who will play everything from Debussy to Billie Eilish - and explore the impact of live music on young people’s mental health and wellbeing.

The Innovation Labs will include a programme of fun and engaging activities all designed to find ways to make live music more accessible to young people, while generating new ideas for future projects. The project is funded by the Scottish Government’s Youth Music Initiative through Creative Scotland and The Rayne Foundation.

The face-to-face workshops will put children and young people at the heart of finding ways to break down barriers to accessing live music, shows and concerts.

The dates for the sessions are:

Upcoming sessions:Glasgow (Easterhouse) – Monday 2 and Tuesday 3 October 2023

Previous sessions:

Inverness - Wednesday 24 and Thursday 25 May 2023
Stirling - Thursday 8 and Friday 9 June 2023

In 2021, project partners delivered four workshops to explore 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 Innovation Labs will seek to expand and improve this area of research.

To find out more information or to book a place at our Glasgow (Easterhouse) session, 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

Click here to learn more

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 be partnering with the Scottish Government, COSLA and the University of Stirling’s Department of Nursing, Midwifery and Allied Health Professionals (NMAHP) to deliver a youth advisory group to inform and improve policy from the perspective of those with lived experience of suicide.

The panel of 16-25 year olds meets regularly to gather and share views to inform policy development.

The group has a role to directly advise and support the work of Scotland's National Suicide Prevention Leadership Group (NSPLG)

Established by the Scottish Government and COSLA, the NSPLG brings together people with lived experience of suicide alongside, academic, professional third sector, and statutory partners to support the delivery of Scotland’s Suicide Prevention Strategy and Action Plan: Creating Hope Together (click here to access).

Year 1 

During 2022-23, we have worked with a group of young people with lived experience of suicidality, bereavement by suicide and poor mental health to inform policymaking around Suicide Prevention.

The group has worked directly with the Scottish Government to support its work to develop the Time, Space, Compassion Approach.

As part of the project, a new participation network has been set up to support practitioners to share their experiences to inform policymaking.

Year 2 

As we move into our second year of the project, we are inviting applications for new members to join the group.

The group is for young people aged 16-25 who have tried to take their
own life, or who have suicidal thoughts. It is also for people who have
experienced suicide (please note that two years must have passed if
you have sadly lost someone through suicide for you to get involved)
and those who suffer from poor mental health.

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 making sure young people’s views are 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 a young person interested in applying or you work with young people who may be interested, please get in touch.

Click here to access our information sheet for the project
Please read this before getting in touch.

To get involved is really simple, you just need to get in touch with Chris Ross ( with responses to the following questions:

  • Why do you want to get involved in this group?
  • Why is it important that the views of children and young people with lived experience are considered by decision-makers, including the Suicide Prevention Leadership Group?
  • What do you like doing in your spare time and why?

You should also send a completed consent form which you can access here.

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.

Find out more about the project

For more information about this project, please contact Chris Ross,

Looking for Support?

Breathing Space - Call 0800 83 85 87
Weekdays: Mon-Fri 9pm to 2am / Weekends: 24 Hours

NHS24 - Call 111
Mon-Thurs 6pm to 8am / Fri 6pm to Mon 8am

Samaritans - Call 85258
24/7 365 days a year

Shout (text based support) - Text 85258
24/7 (texts free from all major UK networks)

Interested in getting involved?

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

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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 Action Plan

Creating Hope Together, Scotland's Suicide Prevention Action Plan and Strategy

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Stay connected

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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)

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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