ProjectScotland has been empowering young people to engage in social action for more than a decade. We support young people in Scotland to contribute to their local communities through volunteering.

We’ve designed a fully supported system for our volunteers that gives each volunteer the best chance to make the most of their experience. This includes pairing our volunteers with their own personal mentor.

Over the last couple of years we realised even more could be done to support Scotland’s young people to shape not only their communities but also our organisation. Through our work with young people we’ve developed new projects and structures that allow and positively encourage young people to take the lead in decision-making.

Youth VIP (Volunteering Innovation Project) is a group of 20 young people (aged 14-25) from across Scotland who’ve spent 9 months exploring the barriers to volunteering in Scotland. Using YoungScot’s Co-design process, the group developed 13 recommendations for the Scottish Government, including practical actions which could support volunteering for the next decade.

“Volunteering showed me the power I could have as one young person to change things, I want every young person to have that opportunity” – YouthVIP member

Youth VIP work is showing the government and the third sector in Scotland that young people have the knowledge and ambition to identify and overcome challenges facing the sector. The project’s also helped the young people involved realise that their voice and ideas matter and will be taken seriously.

Another of our projects is working with young people across the country to figure out what the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) mean for Scotland and for our young people. We know that issues such as climate change and the environment matter to our volunteers. And by working alongside IDEAS, we’re supporting young people to lead on this debate. Over the course of 2019, young people from across Scotland will meet to discuss the SDG’s and what they would like to see policy makers do to make them a reality.

We embrace the opportunity to engage with young people. While still in the early stages of implementing our youth participation strategy, we want our future to be shaped by the passion and creative thinking young people bring to volunteering. Our Youth Advisory Board launches soon and we’re in the process of recruiting young Trustees to the ProjectScotland Board.