The young people of East Dunbartonshire will be represented in the Scottish Youth Parliament by three new members, following an election last month among 12-25 year olds which was contested by 12 candidates.
Joe Thomas, a student at Bearsden Academy, was elected to represent the Milngavie & Clydebank constituency while Charlotte Boyle from St. Ninian's High School and Caitie Mak from Lenzie Academy will both represent the Strathkelvin & Bearsden constituency.
The three new MSYPs (Members of the Scottish youth Parliament) met Councillors Andrew Polson and Vaughan Moody, the Joint Leaders of East Dunbartonshire Council, and Ann Davie, the Council's Depute Chief Executive - Education, People & Business at the Council HQ.
Caitie said, "I'm honoured to have been elected as a member of the SYP. It’s a great opportunity to be the voice of my community and represent the youth of Strathkelvin and Bearsden.
"Over the next two years, I would like to try to make a difference to the bus fares for children, as I believe 16 and 17-year-olds should be entitled to a child bus fare. I would also try to make more suitable school meals for those with dietary requirements such as gluten-free, dairy-free or Halal.
"Again, I’m delighted to have been elected as an MSYP and will do my best to do well as the voice of Strathkelvin and Bearsden’s young community."
Joe said, “I’d like to start by saying thank you to all the absolutely wonderful people at Bearsden and Douglas Academies that have shown their support and joined me on this amazing journey. Without them, I wouldn’t have had this opportunity, and so I could not be more grateful.
"I’m extremely excited to begin work in my new role as an MSYP - I’ve got big plans and hope to see some real change in East Dunbartonshire, and Scotland as a whole, for young people. If you too have any ideas, or queries about my plans, feel free to get in touch with me on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram @joethomasmsyp - I’m always happy to talk! I know that together, we can achieve a lot of the next two years, and I cannot wait to get started.”
Charlotte added, "I'm so pleased to have been elected to the Scottish Youth Parliament and am really excited to get to work on making my constituency a better place for all of the young people in it.
"My first idea is to enhance legislation to ensure that all people have equal opportunities in the workplace and specifically to address inequalities in gender and ethnicity pay gaps. Scotland, like Iceland, could mandate that no man can be paid more than a woman for work of equal value. This would go much further than current equal pay legislation and employers should be fined for these bad practices.
"Another idea is to get the bus fare lowered for 16-25 year olds as we are expected to pay a full adult fare. This would be a student fare and equivalent to a child fare.
"I’d like to thank everybody who voted for me."
5,562 votes were cast throughout East Dunbartonshire with the Strathkelvin and Bearsden seat polling the highest constituency vote in Scotland with 3,965 votes.
Joint Council Leader, Andrew Polson congratulated the new MSYPs on their success and said, "It was great to meet Caitie, Charlotte and Joe and to see their enthusiasm for the new roles they are undertaking. The Scottish Youth Parliament represents the views of the country's young people and I have no doubt that our new MSYPs will make excellent ambassadors for East Dunbartonshire and will do a great job of represent their peers."
Vaughan Moody, Joint Leader, added, "This is an opportunity for Charlotte, Joe and Caitie to raise the issues that matter to them and other young people at the highest level. I was delighted to see the turnout figures and to see how engaged our young people are in politics. It bodes well for the future that the younger generation is keen to have its voice heard."