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Paper cut-out figures in the colours of the LGBT pride flag

Charity announces LGBTQ+ social history project to capture young people’s stories

Posted 27.04.23 by Alice Hinds

A new community archive project has been announced to document the lives of LGBTQ+ young people living in Scotland.

Launched by charity LGBT Youth Scotland, the (Un)Seen, (Un)Heard project will see young Scots come together to “capture, collate and conserve” their personal stories, creating an archive of experiences for future generations to learn from, share and enjoy.

Over the next three years, experiences of work, family, health, education and community will be documented through film, photography, audio and text, then shared through a national digital exhibition. Working in partnership with national archivists, the project will then be professionally archived to create an “accessible, engaging and enduring” resource, which represents the voices of young people around the country.

While a number of LGBTQ+ social history collections are already held by a range of organisations and museums throughout Scotland, the charity says few resources feature young people’s voices. (Un)Seen, (Un)Heard will help to connect people of all ages and strengthen communities, while also informing current and future policymakers.

Announcing the project, the charity said: “We believe it is vital to capture the experiences of LGBTQ+ young people – an important part of recording the social history of the LGBTQ+ community in Scotland and considering where that experience is shared and where it is different from other young people.

“Additionally, the hard-won progress of LGBTQ+ rights over the past 20 years has been stalled by the current debate on the rights of trans individuals and this combined with the pandemic had led to a time-sensitive need. Young people tell us that being LGBTQ+ means they face barriers to achieving their full potential in education, work, relationships, and that Scotland does not feel like a safe and inclusive place to live, love or learn.

“We know that visibility gives a crucial sense of security and belonging to LGBTQ+ individuals and that it helps to destigmatise different identities in their wider community.”

Celebrating 20 years as Scotland’s national charity for LGBTQ+ young people, this month, LGBT Youth Scotland unveiled a new five-year strategy, co-designed with the Youth Reference Group (YRG). Informed by research and developed alongside young people aged 13–25, the strategic goals for the charity include changing lives through youth work, influencing change through young people’s voices, and improving lives through partnerships and inclusive environments.

The future vision, the charity says, will be achieved through working with partners to create a more inclusive Scotland, where LGBTQ+ young people have better opportunities to belong, flourish and thrive.

Click here for more information on LGBT Youth Scotland website:

Our view on the Programme for Government:  Positive pledges on youth jobs and climate, more ambition needed on family support and fighting poverty

3 September 2020

Children in Scotland has responded to Tuesday’s publication of the Programme for Government.

Commenting on key policy areas including UNCRC incorporation, ELC expansion and health inequalities, our Head of Policy, Projects and Participation, Amy Woodhouse, said:

UNCRC incorporation: a milestone in improving outcomes for children

“We are delighted that the long-standing commitment to incorporate the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child has been met with a clear plan to bring forward the Bill in this parliament. We await the Bill being published and look forward to working with partners across the sector, Scottish Government, and MSPs to support its passage into law.

We know that incorporation will contribute to culture change in Scotland and enhance the support that we provide to children, young people, and families. The continued commitment to incorporation is a clear sign of the focus on improving outcomes for children and young people.

Financial support for families: the gap still to be bridged

“As a member of the End Child Poverty Coalition we have been supportive of the introduction of the Scottish Child Payment by February 2021 for eligible families with children under the age of six. We are pleased to see that applications for the fund will open in November. However, we hope to see activity by the Scottish Government to ensure uptake of the payment is maximised.

“We are also disappointed that there is no financial payment to bridge the gap between now and February. We know that families need support now, and view this as a failure to respond to rising rates of poverty. As members of the End Child Poverty Coalition we will continue to work with partners to ensure that families have the financial support they need.

Education: commitment must be matched by ambition and implementation

“It is positive to see investment in teachers and support staff, particularly as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, an additional 200 support staff does not appear to be an ambitious enough response to the scale of the problem. We know that schools were already struggling to meet the needs of all children and young people prior to the pandemic, and this situation will only have become more complex.

“We are pleased to see the commitment to implementation of the recommendations contained within Angela Morgan’s recent review of the Implementation of Additional Support for Learning. However, a specific timeline for implementation must be introduced and a financial commitment made, otherwise the detrimental impact on children and young people’s wellbeing will continue. We know these changes will be needed now more than ever given the impact of COVID-19.”

ELC expansion: don’t let delay risk overriding aim of reducing inequalities

“The Programme for Government also contains a commitment to update on the expansion of Early Learning and Childcare. An assessment of the readiness for expansion will be provided by December. Children in Scotland is concerned by these delays as evidence prior to COVID-19 suggested that the expansion was already behind schedule. The expansion could make a potentially transformative contribution to reducing inequalities for children and families and do not wish to see the benefits delayed.

“Through our campaigning and influencing work we will push for the expansion to be rolled out as soon as possible to provide support to children and families, emphasising at all the times the importance of quality and inclusive practice. We also will look forward to seeing the framework for expanding childcare to school-age children across the next parliamentary term.

“While it was also promising to see a range of commitments to family support within the Programme for Government, much of this was money that had already been committed.”

Youth Guarantee: a welcome step if high quality jobs are guaranteed too

“We are encouraged to see the Scottish Government’s commitment to a Youth Guarantee, which will ensure all 16-24-year olds will have access to a job, training, or education.

“However, we are waiting to see further detail to clarify that the scheme will not include zero hour contracts or jobs which mean young people are left under-employed. It is essential that the youth guarantee supports high quality jobs.

“We are also pleased to see support for parental employment including those at risk such as low-income parents. However, we would query whether £2.35million is enough to support the ambitions of such a scheme.”

The Promise: support for recommendations, support for resourcing

“It was encouraging to see the continued commitment to implementing the recommendations with The Promise. Children in Scotland is happy to be supporting The Promise team with this work but would have liked to have seen firmer commitments on timescales and financial resource for the implementation.

Mental health and wellbeing: early prevention a priority missed 

“Children in Scotland would have liked to have seen more ambition in supporting better mental health and wellbeing for children and young people. Several positive new actions were laid out with in the Programme for Government, including:

  • A renewed focus on community health and wellbeing services
  • Work with women and girls’ organisations to explore the individual and structural issues that contribute to poor mental health for this group.

“However, we would have liked to have seen a far greater focus on a move towards early intervention and prevention and tackling the structural determinants of poorer mental health.

“We also would query the necessity of a further CAMHS recovery plan in response to COVID-19 given the breadth of work over the recent years that has shown the changes needed to mental health provision in Scotland.”

Health and wellbeing: positive moves on tackling inequalities 

“We were pleased to see a focus on tackling health inequalities within the programme for government and particularly pleased to see action on reducing harm from alcohol and cigarettes, the effects of emissions and to reduce drug deaths. Action to improve active travel and improve diets is also welcome.

“However, we are concerned that this activity is still heavily focussed on individual behaviour change and does recognise the impact of poverty and inequality on health and wellbeing.”

Digital: access and inclusion emphasis welcome

“The broad focus on digital access and inclusion within the Programme for Government is very welcome. The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the need to support everyone to have access to digital technology.

“We are pleased to see commitments to roll out super-fast broadband across the country and the proposals to expand the Connecting Scotland Fund. We are aware of the benefit this fund has had so far and are pleased to see an extra £23million to support a further 50,000 people experiencing digital exclusion.

“However, we also need to see continued complementary action to reduce the grip of poverty to ensure that all families can access the resources they require.”

Environment: progress on emissions targets

“Children in Scotland is extremely pleased to see the commitment within the Programme for Government to tackle climate change, and welcomes the pledge that Scotland will become a net zero emitter by 2045. We would like to see this supported by a commitment to a 75% reduction by 2030.

“We are particularly pleased to see a focus on tackling high emissions/carbon industries. It is essential that industry take responsibility for tackling climate change as a key emitter of CO2 and other harmful greenhouse gases.

“Measures announced to make homes more energy efficient are also very encouraging. Not only will this reduce emissions it should help tackle fuel poverty.

“We await further detail from experts in this sector on whether these plans are ambitious enough.”

Communities: 20-minute scheme a plus if holistic needs are part of the plan

“We are pleased to see the commitment to improving the neighbourhoods in which children and young people grow up. We are interested to see more information about the proposed 20-minute neighbourhood scheme which aims to ensure everyone can meet all their essential needs within 20 minutes of their house.

“However, our recent Health Inequalities work showed that there is much work to be done to create communities that are safe and positive places for children and young people to grow up. Scottish Government must learn from these findings. We would also advocate for consideration of the UNICEF Child Friendly Cities Model in conjunction with the 20-minute neighbourhood scheme so that children’s holistic needs are fully considered, including the right to play.”

Gender Recognition Act: lack of legislation a blow for trans young people

“We are disappointed that there appears to be little mention of bringing forward legislation to reform the Gender Recognition Act. Children in Scotland knows the benefit that reforms to how trans young people access a Gender Recognition Certificate would have. We will continue to work with partners across the sector to ensure support is available for trans young people.”

2020-21 Programme for Government

The First Minister announced the 2020-21 Programme for Government on 1 September

Click to read more

"We call for full incorporation"

In our 2019 consultation response we said the UNCRC must be part of Scots law

Click to read our response

"Another generation can't go through this"

In May we commented on new child poverty stats, drawing on learning from our projects

Click to read more

"Don't lose focus on inequality challenge"

We recently commented on the delay in early learning and childcare expansion

Click to read more

"A big moment for Scotland's future"

In February we welcomed the Care Review's calls and pledged to #KeepThePromise

Click to read more

"A unique report led by young people"

In February we launched our Health Inequalities research

Click to read more

Our project work

Young people's rights and participation is central to our project work

Click to read more

‘Lessons for a new social settlement’ – publication of reports mark end of innovative five-year food project

9 June 2020

Children in Scotland has marked the completion of its long-running Food, Families, Futures (FFF) project with the publication of two reports evidencing the success and impact of the partnership.

FFF was developed by the charity in 2015 to address a major  social issue: food insecurity and its links with wellbeing and education.

Working with families, communities and businesses, FFF supported after-school and holiday provision projects across Scotland, including in Glasgow, West Dunbartonshire, Perth and Kinross, East Lothian, Stirlingshire and Clackmannanshire.

Holiday clubs focused on the value of fun activities, eating together and community strength and since 2016, FFF has helped to drive the issues of food insecurity – and how local and national governments should respond ­– up the political agenda.

The reports are intended to provide legacy learning and evidence about FFF, giving an honest view of its successes and challenges, and practical insights for any community or organisation wanting to take forward similar work in future.

Relationships and renewal

Freelance writer and consultant Shelagh Young has produced Nourish to flourish - food, fun and family learning, an independent review and analysis of the project.

Click here to read the report

In the report, Shelagh praises FFF partners for harnessing “local energy and support… to kickstart kindness” and argues that their work “shows how to build stronger relationships and achieve valuable learning through making and sharing tasty, nutritious meals together”.

FFF is also highly relevant in the context of our ambitions for renewal following the pandemic. “Sustaining an exciting and effective family and community-led way of working so that it becomes the new social settlement will become one of Scotland’s greatest challenges,” Shelagh says.

The second report, aimed at strategic leadership, is Food, Families, Futures: Making positive change happen alongside families is by Children in Scotland’s Policy Manager (Participation & Engagement), Elaine Kerridge.

Click here to read the report

As well as highlighting the practice-based knowledge built up over four years working on the project, Elaine emphasizes core principles that have been vital to FFF, particularly participation. inclusion and a non-stigmatising, relationship-based approach to poverty.

“Within communities, establishing a trusting relationship is the essential starting point,” Elaine says. “As one Strategic Lead told us: ‘It needs to come from the families.’”

Carrying forward core principles

Children in Scotland CEO Jackie Brock said:

“These two completion reports held contribute to a powerful legacy of learning from the FFF project which we hope others will be able to take forward. We believe that the process of post-virus renewal for schools, communities and families can be informed by some the core principles of FFF which Shelagh and Elaine capture so well in their reports.

“Children in Scotland’s own learning, from policy development to communications, has been hugely strengthened by our experience of leading FFF, and we will be using that knowledge in our ongoing influencing work.

“The early response to the pandemic sees a growing consensus on why direct payments are the answer to families struggling with food insecurity, and how schools and community buildings can be used in a more imaginative, flexible and accessible way.

“There is also important learning about the false division between school and holidays, and how this could be broken down to build relationships and transform schools into through-the-year community assets.

“Most of all, there is learning for all of us about how any kind of project that seeks to address inequality or social justice at community level must be done with families not to them.

“I’d like to thank all our partners who’ve supported this project over the past five years – businesses, third sector groups, funders, local authorities, and most importantly the children and families who have been at the heart of FFF.”

Challenging food insecurity

Our five-year food partnership programme addressed a major societal issue

Click to find out more

Food, fun and family learning

Shelagh Young's independent review of FFF looks at the project's impact and successes

Click to download

Report author Shelagh Young

Shelagh is a freelance writer and consultant

Click to visit her website

Positive change alongside families

Elaine Kerridge's report is aimed at strategic leads and captures key FFF learning

Click to download the report

Report author Elaine Kerridge

Our Policy Manager Elaine has also written a blog about her learning from the project

Click to read Elaine's blog

2017 summer clubs

Children and families tell us what they like about the FFF experience in this short film

Click to watch the film

Third sector services 'must mobilise' to give children and communities support in the fight against Covid-19

20 March 2020

Children in Scotland has responded to yesterday’s statement by the Cabinet Secretary for Education (click to read), John Swinney, on schooling and childcare in Scotland during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Our Chief Executive Jackie Brock said:

“We welcome the statement from the Cabinet Secretary for Education and in particular its repeated emphasis on the need for immediate proactive support for vulnerable children and families. This is we hope a reflection of a shared societal view and sense of priority across Scotland and the UK prompted by the Covid-19 crisis.

Linking help for families with human rights

“While the proposal of vouchers for families currently in receipt of free school meals is an understandable response, alongside Child Poverty Action Group and others organisations who wrote to the First Minister on Wednesday, we believe a cash payment in lieu of free school meals would be more appropriate, avoiding stigma and respecting human rights.

“We are encouraged by the pledge that schools will be used as hubs for the different services that can provide support to the priority groups of young people children and families reliant on free school meals; learners most dependent on educational continuity; and children whose parents are key workers. This will encompass active schools co-ordinators as well as teachers.

“The Food, Families, Futures programme which we have run in partnership since 2016 has provided valuable, relevant learning about how schools can be highly effective hubs for consolidating services and support.

Meeting the challenge on childcare

“Changes in childcare as a consequence of Covid-19 represent a massive challenge for children, families and services. In this incredibly fast-moving situation there is understandably uncertainty about what and where childcare will be provided. We are seeking greater clarity for children and families as soon as it can be provided."

“Core consideration of vulnerable families and key workers is right and proper, but many other families will face a very difficult challenge of meeting needs. As the Resolution Foundation (click to visit) has said, only around one in 10 of the bottom half of earners can feasibly work from home. In this light, the support available for families and employers in these circumstances needs to be very carefully considered.

“In terms of supporting ongoing childcare services, any identification of vulnerable children must be non-stigmatising, and the community support model will need to operate with a fundamental understanding of this.

“Support for the role of the third and private sector childcare providers will be absolutely crucial as this is an especially vulnerable time for them.

Additional Support Needs: local action and continuity vital

“We welcome acknowledgment of the fact that the impacts of Covid-19 are particularly unsettling for children and young people with additional support needs. This now needs to translate into local action, with continuity for children with ASN essential.

“Flexibility on schools opening during the summer holiday period will be helpful in supporting transitions.

“The Cabinet Secretary made the point that practitioners know their children well and we fully support this focus. Practitioners must have the autonomy and resources to respond to individual needs for as long as schools and communities are affected by the virus.

“We agree that Education Scotland plays a key role in providing support and guidance to schools at this time and to parents through Parentzone. Their role and support must be explicit and consistent for all.

Valuing children’s participation and voices

“The Cabinet Secretary’s focus on engaging with partners around giving good quality information to children and young people was also very welcome and must be a priority. But we can take this further and make part of our effort asking children and young people what guidance and information they want to see through direct consultation with them.

Our role and offer

“We should remember that the safety nets being removed as a result of this virus are not just financial. The challenge will be how quickly and efficiently we can mobilise third sector services to give support. The sector can play a critical role in supporting children and young people, which is why we welcome the community hub approach highlighted by the Cabinet Secretary.

“However, this approach must build on existing local effective community hubs or fill gaps where these are not available. These hubs must be inclusive, offering dignified, non-stigmatising provision and be developed across a partnership of local communities, voluntary and statutory sectors.

“We should be looking at the local assets, resources and learning that we can help to marshal, and the powerful networks, relationships and sense of solidarity that exists in our communities.

“We want to support the wider education workforce as they adjust to new ways of working, and help ensure that children and young people’s voices and perspectives are included in this changed landscape.

“As an organisation that represents the children’s sector with convening power to bring organisations and interests together and forge partnerships at a local level, we have a role to play and stand ready to help.”

Click here to read the Cabinet Secretary's statement in full

Letter to the First Minister: Covid-19

We were a signatory to the CPAG-led letter about support for families

Click to read the letter

Covid-19: impact on our work

A statement about our status in relation to the COVID-19 virus (updated 17 March)

Click to read our statement

Food, Families, Futures

Our project challenging food povertyhas been working in communities since 2016

Click to find out more