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25 January 2018

PAS Volunteer Manager Erin Fulton, PAS CEO Petra Biberbach, Planning Minister Kevin Stewart MSP, PAS Chair Irene Beautyman, Edinburgh Planning Convener Cllr Neil Gardiner, City of Edinburgh Council David Leslie

PAS, Scotland’s leading place charity, has launched a youth volunteering programme to encourage young people living in Scotland to take the lead as active citizens in their local communities in the Year of Young People.

The Youth Volunteer programme and Youth Volunteer Award was launched by the Scottish Government Minister for Local Government and Housing, Kevin Stewart MSP, on Thursday and will promote active citizenship and encourage young people to be actively involved in placemaking. The programme will empower Young Volunteers to be influencers and agents of change, actively participating in the decision-making processes in their local communities.

Young volunteers will work towards the PAS Youth Volunteer Award, with the potential to earn Young Scot Card Rewards, which involves completing ten hours of volunteering in areas matched to their interests and skills.

PAS is Scotland’s leading place and active citizenship charity. Its vision is for a Scotland which creates great places in which all communities, whether urban, rural or island, can take pride, and feel empowered to shape.

As the organisation approaches its 25th anniversary of helping people to shape the decisions that affect them and their communities, the launch of the Youth Volunteer programme will be an important development in how PAS carries out its work in local communities across Scotland.

Speaking at the launch event, the Chair of PAS, Irene Beautyman, said:

“The launch of PAS’ Youth Volunteer Programme and Award is a landmark moment in PAS’ 25 year history. Our role is to enable communities to have their voices heard in the planning system by empowering them to become active citizens, through education and advice, awareness raising, and facilitating positive dialogue.

The places in which we live, work, access public services, build our relationships, and generally live our lives, are crucial to our physical, mental, social and economic wellbeing. Therefore, the way in which we plan our places, and the extent to which we bring people together, is vital for Scotland’s overall social and economic wellbeing.

As our present and future generation, Scotland’s young people are crucial to creating great places, and it is vital their voices are heard. In the Year of Young People 2018, our Youth Volunteering Programme and Award is an important step in helping create a Scotland where young people feel empowered to be active citizens in their local communities.”

Minister for Local Government and Housing, Kevin Stewart MSP, said:

“2018 has been designated as the Year of Young People, the first themed year to recognise people as one of Scotland’s greatest assets. And following the work of the independent planning review we will see the passage of a Planning Bill through Parliament. It is therefore auspicious that this volunteering programme is being launched at this time.

“I look forward to hearing about the how the PAS Youth Volunteers have benefitted from their experience. It will indeed be a positive one if they can build upon the skills, expertise and commitment of the current volunteers and staff. And I am also keen to hear about examples where the Youth Volunteers are making an impact in their communities.”

Councillor Neil Gardiner, Convenor of Planning at City of Edinburgh Council, said:

“I welcome the opportunity for young people to engage in the future of their communities. In this Year of Young People, we will be bringing forward suggestions on how to further increase engagement in the planning process. In December, we worked with PAS and pupils from Leith Academy, Hermitage Park and Craigentinny.”

Current PAS volunteer, Melissa Shields, 19, said:

“It is especially important during the Year of Young people that the voices of the future generation are heard in key decisions about our local communities. Young volunteers are an incredibly powerful way to inspire and encourage participation amongst other young people because of the peer-to-peer relationship.

I have immensely enjoyed my volunteering with PAS to date, and found it to be a very rewarding experience. I would really urge other young people to sign up to the PAS Youth Volunteer Programme and Award as a way of really making a difference in their local community as well as developing new skills and gaining valuable experience.”